Fluent in Body Language

Authored by:
Savi C.

Savi C.

One of my biggest worries coming to Spain was ability to speak Spanish. How would I be able to connect with my new family? How would I successfully go to school? Take tests? Make friends? Experience a new culture? 
  Coming into this I had taken Spanish through my middle school and then freshman year and half of sophomore year. Before I arrived I would have said I know a pretty substancial amount of Spanish, however after arriving it hit my how little I actually knew and how much more I needed to learn to be able to communicate all my emotions. I started to worry about the things that could come out of this. But I was mostly worried about making friends. I believed that about 100% of my personality comes from my words and that if kids couldn't get to know me, how would I be able to make meaning connections? 
  As the first couple of days at my new school go by I realize that I learn so much constantly and each day I am able to communicate more efficiently. I make lists during the school day and label them, "Palabras que no se" or words that I don't know, then when I do my homework I use a translator and go back and define all the words I didn't know.
   With my concerns of friends I was proven wrong as well. I have realized that it is fairly easy to communicate with body language, expressions, and I have learned that there are some sounds that have a universal meaning. I have also resulted to smiling and nodding and that seems to work most of the time if I don't understand what someone is saying. If I were able to see the stats of the words I have said here, "Sí" would be number one. I use it a lot. A lot. If you can't understand something all you have to do is smile, nod, and throw a couple sí's in there. Also the thumbs up has been very useful for me.
   During my orientation week I met some of the students in Spain for a whole year. They had been there for 5 months, pretty much the same amount of time I will have been there when I leave in June. Seeing how much Spanish they know is very reassuring knowing they were around the same level before they left as well. I am hopeful that I will be able to use less and less nodding and be able to communicate effortlessly in no time!

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