For all of those who are wondering how I did with my Spanish lessons, I am proud to announce that after six weeks (30 hours of school), I reached Intermediate Level.
What exactly does that mean you ask?
It means I have learned basic vocabulary and grammar, and am now able to have basic conversations in present, past and future tense. Yay me!
I remember back to my first week in Santo Domingo with my home stay mom. I really couldn’t understand anything that she said and wondered if what I was learning was really the same language she was speaking! Then I got to my second home stay and still couldn’t understand anything, so I didn’t talk a whole lot.
As of my fourth week, when I moved to Sosua, there was a stronger focus on conversation with my fabulous teacher Ana. By the end of that fourth week, I was understanding most of what she said to me and rarely saying ‘no entiendo’ (I don’t understand).
When I made the decision to stay for week five, it was mostly because of my fantastic experience with Ana and that I felt I had improved so much in just that one week! By the middle of week two I was feeling confidant enough to begin having slow conversations with the locals and although I had to say ‘no entiendo’ or ‘otra vez’ (another time) a lot, I was also picking up a lot more of what they were saying.
Between classroom grammar, conversation, classroom excursions to the market and the local area, I was able to really start to feel like things were making sense. That, along with conversations with several new friends on a regular basis made a huge difference.
I am now proud to say that when I listen to my favourite bachata and merengue songs I can pick out about 75% of the words and meaning. Before I was just enjoying the beat of the music. Now I can start to understand what the songs are about!
And, although I still speak very very slowly, most people can understand what I am trying to say. By the end of six weeks in classes, I had also begun to think in Spanish instead of trying to translate every word from English. If I can continue this, it will make a big difference in the speed that I am able to speak.
I can’t wait to continue learning Spanish. I plan to keep in touch with many of my friends that I made so that I can practice my Spanish writing skills, but I also hope to find a few people in Halifax to continue to practice with as well. I don’t want to lose all that I’ve just learned!