I’m craving a new flavor, and it’s called Spanish
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” -Neale Donald Walsch
I cannot express how amazing it is to be here. In a city where the people are happy and friendly. To be a student at the most prestigious school in this country. Something great happens everyday when I’m here in Buenos Aires.
But my experience has been challenged by my strongest reason for being here: Spanish. Before coming onto this trip, I made it clear with myself that I wanted to learn Spanish and master it by the time that I left here in July. During the past month, I’ve had to use Spanish every single day in many settings, whether it was talking to my host mother or simply ordering a Milanesa sandwich. Talking Spanish caused me stress whenever it didn’t come to me easy. Before I knew it, I found myself avoiding many situations just to avoid the embarrassment of looking like a stupid American who couldn’t speak the native language here. I would look at a menu and take 5 minutes just thinking to myself how I would form a 7 word sentence to order a burger. If I couldn’t form the sentence correctly in my mind, I would completely forget even trying. At this point, I had lost my hunger for Spanish. Yes, I wanted to learn it, but I wasn’t motivated to soak in my mistakes and practice the language. This is an experience that many of us feel at some point, where we feel like our ability to speak a new language is closely related to who we are, and it is very easy to feel vulnerable.
It took me a trip to Bariloche and being surrounded by crazy, fun, mexican borrachos for me to realized that sometimes the goal is not to be comfortable, for that’s where you will blossom the most. I had never spoken so much Spanish continuously until this weekend when I traveled with BAIS Argentina for 4 days. Amongst our group were people from all over the world: Germany, France, Singapore, Mexico, Colombia, and many, many more. The only common language amongst us all was Spanish, so it was essentially the only way to communicate with other people. For those who spoke English, we found a beautiful balance between Spanish and English to allow both parties to practice their second language. I loved that there was a mutual understanding amongst us all that we all had second languages that we were not perfect at, but that everyone was practicing it – and having fun practicing too! This trip revived my energy to learn Spanish again and showed me that it can be fun to learn a new language, not stressful.
Moving forward, I am not afraid to make a mistake. I associate learning and speaking Spanish with fun, and not as a stressful activity.
I am hungry for Spanish, and I hope that everyone around me is hungry too.