After taking a couple of Spanish classes here at UB, I knew I wouldn’t be able to speak fluently, but I thought I would be able to hold my own speaking with native speakers. After my first day in Peru, I knew that I had been wrong.
I had just met my host parents and we made a plan for the three of us to go downtown to explore. Or at least that’s what I thought we were talking about. Eventually I realized that they had actually been directing me on how to get downtown by myself while they went to a market by themselves. So I was on a crowded public bus heading downtown alone in a city I had just arrived in when I realized I was not as proficient in Spanish as I should be.
Flash forward six weeks later to my last day in Peru, six weeks full of Spanish practice in classes, my volunteer program, my host home and conversations with natives. I was not too thrilled to be leaving and saying goodbye to everyone there that had made my time there so wonderful. That night I came home with wet eyes to my host mom, with the realization that I was leaving such a beautiful place. We talked about the “special something” that Peru has; the magical something that everyone feels when they are there and we talked of my plans to revisit the beautiful place.
I thought back to six weeks prior, when I was stranded in the middle of the city and forced to ask native speakers where to go and how to get around. It was instances like that day that brought me to the level of Spanish of being able to have meaningful conversations with my host family and others; a multitude of experiences that I could never have imagined could be my life abroad.
– Carly Connor