Enhancing your Spanish in Madrid
I looked at other places like Argentina, Brazil, and many others, but I knew that Spain was going to give me the best experience for me to really practice my Spanish. I completely engulfed myself in the Spanish culture and would have to practice the language every single day, wherever I go. If I go to the grocery store, restaurant, social event, school, anywhere, I have to speak Spanish (of course many people speak English here), but the point of going abroad to learn a language is to actually use it and put it to practice.
When I first came to Madrid, what I struggled with (and I actually still struggle with this) was getting over the fear of making a mistake when I speak or not knowing how to respond when people talk to me. My best tip: Confidence is key. Get out there, make mistakes or you’ll really never learn. There’s so many new words and phrases that I’ve learned here that I hadn’t learned yet, and that’s so important because a book will only tell you so much; but when you live in it, there’s endless things to learn.
Another aspect that has really helped me learn the language more are my classes because they’re all in Spanish. You’re constantly talking, doing presentations, and asking questions all in Spanish. This really has helped me because it puts you in a situation where your only option is to speak the language and you find yourself being able to speak and come up with what to say a lot quicker as time goes on. It’s challenging, but incredibly helpful.
Being abroad, especially in Madrid, Spain, has really enhanced my view of Spanish. I have realized how important learning other languages is. I am an Exercise Science Major, pursuing physical therapy and through several experiences, I have learned that being able to speak another language, especially in the medical field is extremely valuable. Every country has several different cultures with people who speak many different languages. If you have a patient who comes in and doesn’t speak English, it can be challenging to communicate with them and can be a bit frustrating on both ends.
I have learned numerous new things by being abroad. One major area I’ve grown in is my vocabulary. I came to Spain knowing a lot of vocabulary about basic things and I felt ok but I came to realize every country has so many different phrases and terms that have different meanings. I’ve learned quick phrases that sometimes textbooks won’t teach you. And that’s been one of the coolest parts, is learning new information by just walking the streets, hearing conversations and catching up on repeated things people say.
You learn more than you think abroad and I can tell you with utter confidence that your language truly improves while you’re abroad, particularly Spanish in Madrid. I think all I’ve learned and experienced here has just motivated me more to learn the language even more and continue practicing.
Lauryn H. is the Fall 2017 MOJO Blogger in Madrid, Spain. She is currently a Senior studying Exercise Science at Belmont University.