How did I start learning Spanish?
Spanish is the language that I have been studying the longest – 16 years! In sixth grade, I had to choose which foreign language I would study for the rest of my school days. The choice was between either French or Spanish. At the time, my dad was dating a Colombian woman, so I chose Spanish. I took Spanish classes every year from 6th grade until I graduated high school (12th grade).
In college, my major required me to take six credits (two classes) in a foreign language. They offered French, Spanish, and Italian. My mother’s family came from Sicily, so I really wanted to switch to Italian. But, I decided to stick with Spanish, since I was familiar with it. I took more than the required two classes, and actually had enough credits to minor in it if I wanted too. (I chose to minor in History.)
In 2007 (summer after freshman year of college), I had the opportunity to go to Spain for two weeks. I stayed with a friend and her family in Barcelona. I was so excited to be able to finally travel out of the country and to a place where I could practice my Spanish. Unfortunately, I didn’t use my Spanish at all while I was there. I spoke English with my friend (and her friends/family), and everyone there was speaking Catalán. I was young, and hadn’t even known that there were other languages used by natives of Spain. (I’m much more informed now, I promise!) So, this was quite a shock to me. I came home with the same language skills that I had left with.
Then, in 2012, I began taking online Spanish lessons through italki, and I haven’t stopped. In August of 2014, I started working in a community where 60% of the population speaks Spanish. I was able to put my Spanish skills on my resume, and I use it every day at work, talking to patrons. I think this job has improved the speed at which I speak and understand Spanish. Because of this I plan on taking the DELE in November.