By William P., Chile study abroad participant studying Spanish and skiing in Santiago
Today was my second day and I was still very frustrated that I was having trouble understanding even the basic words that I know I should remember from high school or that I know on paper. However, at least I was starting to understand most of what the teacher was saying today as she spoke to us in phrases that an intermediate beginner would know. I know that learning a language does not occur overnight but because I know I am not very good yet I realized I was getting very nervous in front of people and ultimately too scared to talk. My nervousness would make me forget simple verbs and phrases that I easily remembered later but was stuck without words at the time. It also is very difficult to conjugate verbs on the spot and while I may know it on paper, speaking them efficiently will take many hours of practice. Therefore, I did not have a lot of confidence in my abilities at all today.
Therefore I strongly suggest for anyone else in the same situation where you are very nervous and afraid to speak do to worrying about mistakes and being embarrassed, then find a chat room in the language you are studying and start off by writing online. Better yet, if you know a friend that knows the language, chat with him as friends will generally be more than willing to help you out. Writing really does lessen the anxiety and it is also a great way to learn.
I will continue to chat with my friends that know Spanish using my very book and dictionary to build further confidence throughout the time I am here. It was a great idea for me and I think it is a good idea for everyone providing of course you make the effort to speak to other people afterwards. I don’t want the computer to be too much of a crutch for me but I think as long as I make the effort to also speak the language here in the City, the computer is a good way to continue to lessen Spanish anxiety!
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