Kenzie Bradley, Georgia College and State University
I did my first TalkAbroad for my summer online Spanish I class. This was my first time taking a Spanish class in my life, so I was admittedly very nervous. My online Spanish class started the Monday before the TalkAbroad conversation was due, so I had only been taking Spanish for one week by the time I had the conversation with my partner. My professor had provided a short list of questions, two activities, and describing activities for my first conversation so that we knew what we were going to be talking about. I had spent a lot of time studying and practicing with these questions since we weren’t allowed to have copies of our answers during the conversation.
I talked with a woman named Trinidad, who was listed as ‘perfect for beginners’ by the TalkAbroad website. I spoke with her over direct messages for a few days before we had our 10-minute conversation. I thoroughly enjoyed the direct message feature – it was nice to have a conversation with your partner before you actually spoke with them, so that you could get acquainted with one another before the actual conversation.
I was very nervous before my conversation – even though I had studied the questions, I was very worried I would have trouble understanding the conversation since I was so new to the language. However, when I started the conversation, Trinidad was wonderful and helped me speak. She would ask me a question and provide example answers such as “Do you play a sport? Do you play football, basketball, etc.?”. This helped me figure out the key words of the phrase and therefore allowed me to answer adequately. She would also tell me things about her life, which I found very fascinating and loved learning about. She walked me through my whole conversation with ease and I was surprised how quickly the time passed. After it was over, I sent her a direct message thanking her for talking with me.
I was really surprised about how friendly she was and how she was so able to help guide me through the conversation. I was also really surprised about how much I understood – after only spending one week with Spanish, I was shocked at how much I was able to pick up and understand.
I must do two more TalkAbroad conversations for my Spanish class, and I am now much less nervous for them. After such a wonderful first experience, I have no doubt that my second and third ones will go much better, especially since I will have a better understanding of the language. Thank you, TalkAbroad, for such a wonderful experience.