Janae-Rose F. is currently a sophomore at SYA Spain and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Charlotte Country Day School in North Carolina.
Especially when you are in the thick of language learning, it’s hard to notice how much you have progressed. Prior to winter break, there were days when I question just how much Spanish I’ve learned. When my American family visited me over winter break, I could see exactly how far I’ve come. Now, I am elated to say that I am well on my way to fluency by when we leave in May.
As we navigated the streets of Madrid, a city I had not yet visited, I was definitely the family guide. My Spanish skills were in full display as we negotiated payment, got directions on the street and metro, and convinced guards at the Royal Palace that we were authorized to enter with tickets the previous day. Each interaction was a mini-celebration of my progress. There were some minor hiccups but I was always able to work through them. My mom was impressed and pointed out that I was an important part of making the trip go fluidly. In that moment, I felt satisfaction that all the months of being away from my family in a foreign country bearing fruit.
Leaving my family was hard. I spent the whole day crying intermittently and it took a lot of cheering up from my host family and texting people from home to get better. I was talking to my old English teacher who moved to Hawaii this year alone. Every once in a while, we text about our experiences because we both left my hometown around the same time. We discussed accepting life abroad in its entirety. It’s an opportunity and a blessing but it sometimes feels difficult. Like anything else, travel is amazing and a challenge. It’s all part of the natural process of developing yourself through travel. We have to dedicate ourselves to reaching our goals and obtaining the things that make our difficulties worth it. To me, complete language immersion and increased proficiency is a big draw and one of the many things that make SYA worth it.
- Campus Reporters
- SYA Spain