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Spanish Immersion

by Jaime Olguin

Coming from someone who had to learn the language first hand, the absolute best way to learn Spanish, or any language at that, is by immersing yourself into the culture of the language you wish to speak. What I mean is physically moving to a place where that language is spoken and forcing yourself to learn the language. Sounds a little extreme, right? Well that's exactly how I learned to speak Spanish fluently in a matter of 2 months.

What caused me to do something so drastic?

Well when the opportunity of going on vacation for a couple months comes up I'm sure most of you would take it in a heartbeat, am I right? Well at least I would and did. My parents were going to Mazatlan, Mexico for the summer and asked if I wanted to go. I don't get to travel often so I jumped on the opportunity not thinking of the repercussions until about an hour after I landed, I don't speak Spanish fluently! I have 2 more months of this!

I went into this situation with some awareness of what would happen but I guess you never really understand the full extent of a situation until you're in it and boy I was all the way in it. Stuck in a town where I knew nobody but my parents and their relatives, whom I've never met, AND I can't understand what everyone is saying! I have to admit, it was horrible at first, and I felt like the mute kid at school who doesn't talk to anymore.

I had 2 options. 1. Continue to be the mute kid or 2. Do something about this situation. So that's exactly what I did. I had some sort of Spanish speaking abilities because of my parents so that definitely helped, but I begin to learn Spanish at a rapid rate due to the fact that everyone around me was speaking the language all day everyday so I had no choice but to learn it. I began asking more questions, became more observant to the things around me and let nature take its course.

By the end of the summer I was speaking fluent Spanish with my new friends relaxing at the beach. It really turned out to be quite an eventful summer. It could have been a horrible experience if I let it, so my advice would be to go all in if learning a language is something that you are truly passionate about. It'll be an experience you will always thank yourself for.

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