Beginning this project, I thought that I would make great progress with five hours of my week being dedicated to learning Spanish; however, it was much more difficult than I had originally realized. My first day (January 24) was a snow day, so I couldn’t meet with the friend Eli who has agreed to help me on this journey. Instead, I spent about an hour and a half studying the Spanish alphabet and different sounds from a multitude of YouTube videos. Because I spent so long studying just the alphabet and still didn’t have the sounds even close to memorized, I wondered how much progress I would be able to make this semester. I wasn’t expecting to be fluent in the language by May, but I realized how much time and work this process will really take. Although we are required two hours every week, I can see now that much more time will be needed to even come close to mastering the language, and it will take much longer than just one semester as well.
On Thursday, I was able to meet with my friend Eli mentioned above. His first language was Spanish, and he is also an education major, so I figured he would be a pretty good teacher for this project. We planned to meet for two hours since we weren’t able to meet on Tuesday, but I originally assumed we would run out of productive activities to do. I was sure wrong. We worked on my pronunciation of the alphabet for about an hour and a half. I’m sure I pronounced each letter over a hundred times before he would let me move on to the next one. I’m a collegiate athlete and get frustrated on a daily basis, but this frustration was something completely new. The letters I thought I pronounced well were always wrong and the ones I thought I did horribly were “not bad.” After I went through the alphabet a few times, we finally moved on. For the last half an hour, Eli would say basic Spanish words, and I attempted to spell them. Then we moved on to simple sentences, and again, he would say them, and I would write them.
For an hour on Friday morning, I repeated my last two exercises from Thursday but with a different friend. He would read words and sentences while I wrote them down. I also practiced the alphabet on my own for half an hour, trying my best to pronounce them the way Eli told me to. Over all, this week’s ILP experience was frustrating with a few breakthroughs, but I look forward to seeing improvement in the future.