I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. ~Eartha Kitt
Many people have asked where I stand language-wise, while a few people have commented that they expect me to be fluent when I come back. I’ll go ahead and disappoint everyone by saying that I will NOT be fluent after four weeks of classes. I’ve calculated that these four weeks are equivalent to a semester and a half of college classes. So please remember where you were after a semester of foreign language classes and understand that is where I will be too…still a beginner.
The past three weeks have done a ton for introducing me to the basics of the language and I am getting better. So after three weeks of classes, what have I learned? A bunch of useful vocabulary words. I excel at nouns and adjectives, but still need to learn a bunch of verbs. I’ve learn about 5 or 6 verb tenses (only present and past tense) and conjugations, but I struggle with all of these. Verb tenses and conjugations will be the death of me. That said, I can now read/decipher most signs on the street, in stores, etc. I also can speak at a basic level of communication where people no longer respond with, “Como?”. The speaking part is hard and my accent and intonation need work, but hey, folks can understand me. I still struggle to understand most people and now I’m the one responding with, “Como?” I did understand my teachers after a few days, but they used exaggerated facial and body expressions to enhance some of the points. I don’t write very much and am focused on that the least.
So was it worth coming all the way to Spain to learn the language when, as my brother-in-law said, “You could have just bought Rosetta Stone and watched it on the couch with your Snuggie.”? Yes, it was worth. First, half of this trip is about learning Spanish and the other half is about the experience. Second, it helps a ton to be fully immersed in the language and culture. You end up learning when you’re not trying to. It forces you to always be aware that you’re learning Spanish instead of turning it on or off whenever you choose. It was worth ever penny and I plan to continue classes when I get home. I do have one more week of classes in Tenerife, but for now I’m enjoying taking a break to digest everything I’ve learned so far.