Ella McKillop, Montana State University
My name is Ella McKillop, and I was a student in a Spanish 202 class at Montana State University. I completed three conversation assignments: one in September, one in October, and the last in November. During my first talk, I spoke with Ruben Tupayachi Latorre, and I spoke with Maribel Duarte during my last two conversations. While I found all three of these conversations to be beneficial in a variety of ways, including improving my confidence when speaking to native Spanish speakers and my ability to carry a conversation, my two conversations with Maribel were, by far, the most helpful.
She was punctual, understanding, and always had a smile on her face. Her patience and kindness made talking to her an overall easy and comfortable experience. During times when I was struggling to come up with the right words to say, she always attempted to interpret what I was saying and come to a mutual understanding in a way that was respectful. She also took the time to discuss the culture and traditions of her home country of Nicaragua, furthering my learning experience and building upon my curiosity as a Spanish student. I was able to learn about the holidays celebrated in this country, traditional foods, and popular tourist attractions. We discussed our families, as well as the differences and similarities of our countries both physically and culturally.
I believe that as a young adult, it is important to understand the variety of people and cultures around you. TalkAbroad plays a crucial role in helping college students ,who may be unable to afford to travel the world and experience things on a physical level, develop this understanding in a safe, online environment. It has enabled me to learn in a new, more hands-on manner that has been overall more effective for my Spanish-speaking capabilities and fluency.