The desire to live abroad and learn another language has been with me for a while. In high school, I seriously considered spending my whole junior year in Ecuador, in the hope that total immersion would do the trick.
That plan fell through, however. And the foreign language classroom — in my case, many years of Spanish — never drew me in.
Fast-forward to 2014 to my last semester of college. My major was Journalism and I had just barely passed my four years of required Spanish. I could only communicate the bare necessities.
I still wanted very badly to go abroad and learn another language. So I put myself to learning Mandarin Chinese.
I researched for hours. I began with what I could pick up at the library.
It was slow at first. Then I came across Pimsleur, then after Pimsleur, I found Assimil and Teach Yourself – major brands in the realm of language learning.
I got pretty far in Mandarin Chinese, and then I remembered that little bit of Spanish I knew. And I simply couldn’t believe how much progress I would be able to make if I applied this method to Spanish.
So I did.
Shortly after graduating, I left for Mexico City, Mexico, to teach at a Wall Street English for six months.
After my six months in Mexico, I realized I had discovered my passion – something that I couldn’t do without.
Though when push came to shove, I had to make money and teaching English in Mexico… Well, let’s just say I wasn’t raking it in…
One day a new, fabulous idea donned on me. Why not give Mandarin Chinese another go?
If I could speak Mandarin Chinese, I would definitely be able to use it in the “real world.” So I found a contract to teach English in China and embarked on my next language learning adventure.
China had a lot in store for me. Fortunately, the primary school where I worked had three Spaniards. They became close friends of mine and gave me a chance to sharpen my Spanish.
Our friendship was so natural and we enjoyed each other’s company.
I left China having learned a lot of Mandarin, but with the somber conclusion that despite having fluency in a language you can still have trouble making friends in the country.
I reoriented my sights, and landed on French. I had studied it quite intensively after I had come back from Mexico. And I see it as a language and culture that I can truly assimilate.
Now, I spend at least an hour every day studying this fine language. And my final goal is to pass the C2 exam for the European framework for language proficiency.