It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. As you know, I was in Spain for about three months this fall. I returned home at the end of November, and my life has taken some pretty crazy turns since (but that’s a post for another day). Today I want to share with you the most important lesson I learned while abroad. I learned tons of life lessons during my Spanish experience, but there is one that topped them all: Never stop learning.
My role as an English Language and Culture Assistant was to assist the teachers of the bilingual program with their classes. The students in the bilingual program not only have an English class, but their math and technology classes are also taught in English. These students also have a French class ad their general language (Spanish) class. Trust me when I say it’s pretty humbling to be in a classroom full of 12 year-olds who can speak three languages…and are super excited and motivated about it.
The lesson to keep learning was also reinforced through my personal studies of the Spanish language. While volunteering at the school, I also received three hours of Spanish lessons each week. Even though I have a degree in Spanish, these lessons still rocked my world. A large amount of the material was a review from my college courses, but the information I didn’t know was incredible. In just three short months, I learned so many slang terms and colloquial words. I can only imagine how much more I would have learned had I stayed longer. I’m making a conscious effort to listen to music in Spanish, read books in Spanish, and listen to television/radio broadcasts in Spanish so that I can continue to learn.
Both of the aforementioned experiences demonstrated to me the importance of learning, but the experience that inspired me the most was living with a host family. My host father not only spoke Spanish, but also English, French, and German. He consistently asked me questions about English and American culture because he wanted to learn. He also told me that his next goal in life is to learn to play the piano, and I have no doubt that he will do it. His motivation to learn has inspired me to be a lifelong learner.
It’s really difficult to sum up the experience of a lifetime into one blog post, and I’m sure I’ll draw inspirations for future blog posts from my time abroad, but for now, I’ll keep the lesson simple: Never stop learning.
Photos by Megan Coffroth and life1nmotion.tumblr.com