Parisia Barker, Alumni Ambassador
1. What was one of your favorite parts of study abroad?
The best part of studying abroad was staying with a host family. Everyday my family and I took paseos (walks) around Barcelona, and it allowed me to see Barcelona in a different light. On weekends we drove to their pueblo (town) for a small vacation with their extended family. I can strongly say that my level of Spanish advanced overnight once I moved in with my family. I loved learning about my host’s families customs and traditions. It was fun teaching them about what it meant to be an African American, and it also helped me learn even more about my own identity. I will forever have a Catalan papa, mama, hermano (brother), y perrito (little dog) in my second home in Barcelona.
2. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?
Prior to my trip to Barcelona I set a few goals. On the top was to come back fluent. When learning a new language you must have patience with yourself. I discovered that many people are willing to work with you. So when you don’t have patience with yourself, it can be tempting to just forget talking all together, second guess yourself, and or talk low as a result to loss of confidence. My biggest obstacle I faced was during my off days. I would stumble through the Spanish I had for that day, and locals would always respond in English. For a while this discouraged me, but one day when they responded in English, I kept speaking Spanish, and the conversation continued in Spanish. On days when you don’t feel like you have it, fake it until you make it, and I promise you eventually will make it. I still make mistakes, but I learn to laugh at them, ask for help, and apply the changes. Consistency is key.