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 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.