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Laura's Firsthand Experience with Spanish Immersion at the Local Market


Before my trip to Spain, I decided to take a trip to a local Spanish produce market near my house. I had been in before, so I knew the owner was a very friendly guy and spoke in Spanish with many of his customers. In the past, I have never been confident enough to say more than "gracias" in Spanish, but since being given the opportunity to go to Spain, I realized that it would be pretty important to be comfortable in the language I will be immersed in for a month before I get on the plane, so I decided to step out of my comfort zone a little bit and practice some Spanish outside of the classroom.
Going to the store, I was a little nervous out that I would embarrass myself and say something wrong, but after introducing myself and engaging in some small talk about who was winning the soccer game playing on the small TV hanging in the corner, all in Spanish, the owner's smile that I was making an effort to speak in his language gave me all the confidence I needed.
Creating this time to practice my Spanish outside of just the formulated discussions in the classroom was very helpful in my preparation for this trip. A big part of building up my confidence in order to go to the store and speak solely in Spanish was simply telling myself that it was OK to make mistakes. Almost all of the preparation materials that I have read said that being open to a few (or a lot) of miscommunications or rough workarounds is incredibly important, and I am working on making it my priority to live by this advice.
When I was checking out the fruit I bought, I asked the owner if I could get a picture with him. Although my Spanish wasn't perfect, and I couldn't understand everything he responded with, I left feeling proud that I knew he was asking whether I wanted the picture together or just of him. The biggest thing I took away from my excursion was definitely not to be afraid to take a chance on your abilities, trust your instincts, and just go for it, because the only way to really learn is to fail a few times on the way. I can't wait to go back after my trip to Spain and see how much my Spanish has improved!

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