Category Archives for "Spanish class"

Did I Waste My Time Taking Spanish Classes?

Apparent Early Success Followed by Disappointment

I took several years of Spanish classes in high school and at university.  I found the classes somewhat tedious, but I did well enough and received good grades.  Time passed and one day I was thrust into a situation where I had to use my Spanish in order to do my job.  (I won’t bore you with the details, but my job involved interviewing people in their homes and sometimes those homes were filled with recently arrived immigrants who spoke only Spanish).

Well, I was disappointed and even shocked at how poorly I was able to communicate in Spanish.  I could manage greetings and a few simple phrases, but I was incapable of conducting the interview.  I was still able to pick up a book or magazine and recognize and even understand many words, but conversational fluency was way beyond me.

Something Wonderful

And then, a few years later, something wonderful happened.  I was invited to go on a month-long road trip around central and southern Mexico with 3 native Spanish speakers.  My three companions all spoke fluent Spanish and English, but we agreed – for my benefit and for their preference, to communicate only in Spanish for the duration of the trip.  We flew to Mexico City and rented a Volkswagen Beetle and started off.

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We rented a car for our Mexican road trip

Right away I realized that my holiday trip was not going to be easy – and I didn’t think it was “wonderful” in any way, initially.  Continue reading