Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

The challenges of learning Spanish in Spain

by : 
BeckyH

The nightmares of living in Spain have only just begun!

People say moving away from home and to a foreign country is one of the most enchanting and rewarding experiences of your life, but what they fail to tell you is how difficult it can be and how much you will miss everything about home. From the small things, like the supermarkets being open on Sundays, to the big things like, all your friends and family. Moving away from your comfort zone is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life! Many of my university friends have already experienced being away from home for long periods of time, but for me it was ultra-difficult because I have never lived away from home before.

My experience in Bilbao has not been the easiest! It all started from the minute I arrived at the airport with far too much luggage, which I could only just about manage. Somehow I persevered with my five lots of luggage and I got myself to my new flat in Bilbao. Then my next challenge was trying to open a bank account and trying to register before the first week of being here had passed. I was unable to register since I did not have an original copy of my flat contract and therefore I had to ask my landlady who lives in Italy to send me an original signed copy. Nightmare!

On top of that, I never thought the hardest challenge to date would be trying to get the Spanish to talk to me in Spanish, because at the end of the day I am in SPAIN! I imagined I would be the one struggling to find my words in Spanish, but no I have managed just fine and instead when I ask a person for directions or I make a phone call, the person on the other end always replies with, 'it is better in English, no?' I am trying my best to continue speaking Spanish and when people speak English to me, (including my Colombian flatmate, who I chose to live with in order to improve my Spanish), I will only reply in Spanish. I have even chosen to take part in tandem classes with teachers at my school, so that I can speak Spanish! After all, this English girl wants to speak Spanish and therefore will not be defeated!

Discussion

What challenges do you think you would face if you move to a foreign country to learn the language?