Sunday, July 7, 2013

My Spanish Learning Path

My Spanish learning path. 

Shortly after I graduated college at the eve of worst American recession, I was unable to find a job. Bored, I decided to learn Spanish to increase my job opportunity as everyone around me was telling that learning a language increases marketability. 

I started off as a complete newbie. The first thing I did was to torrent the Rosetta stone. I woke up in the morning and blasted myself with Rosetta stone learning. It just became routine for me at the time, to wake-up and do at least half an hour of Spanish clicking pictures and listening to audio. Spanish then became "my thing" and soon I started amassing music on my ipod even if I couldn't understand a word they were saying. 

Spanish round 2

I was able to secure a part-time position (I think the Spanish helped) and filled my time learning Spanish. At this point I discovered meetup.com Spanish meet up. It became the best thing for my learning Spanish. Once a week we would convene in a downtown mall and speak Spanish for a couple of hours. I realized at this time that even after training myself, that I was a complete newbie. I could not for the life of me make a conversation with these people. Looking back, I realize that my level was so low. However, I didn't give up. 

Spanish round 3

The genius of my now conversant Spanish ability is the fact that I was able to procure a job overseas. I lived in Guatemala for one year and it was truly an eye opening experience! The fact that I worked in a Spanish school helped lots to force language learning in my head. Nevertheless, it still took me a good 3 months to be able to have a baby talk level conversation with my teachers. Rosetta helped, but it is not best for conversations. After 8 months I could get around the country and was organizing trips for myself and others. 

Spanish round 4

Back in the USA, as luck would have it, I got to work in a Spanish owned enterprise. English was the language most used but still had Spanish people talking in the background. I kept attending meet-ups and around this time which was year 3 I believe, my Spanish was getting quite good. Also, I started getting into Salsa which helped maintain the level of Spanish that I have. 

Spanish round 5

I am now in the last wings of Spanish learning. At this point I could converse with any local (having made several trips to different countries) without significant problems. I'm also at the point where the Spanish language is starting to degrade (not working in Spanish enterprise anymore). I still try to attend meetups, but the fact remains: my Spanish skills is now starting to degrade because I am back states-side. 

End. 

The best take of this is that learning the language has given me a lot. It has given me employment, most of my friends are Spanish learners. Most of my girlfriends had been Spanish speakers. I am now badass in Salsa. And I have a new perspective -- which is the latino perspective. 


TIPS ON LEARNING SPANISH

1.) Realize that learning Spanish is a lot of work. Language learning is no joke and don't fall for the Spanish is an easy language to learn crap. Basically you will have a language that encompasses a vocal representation of all the physical world plus the meta-physical which is the basis of semantics. 

2.) Set aside time to study. You have to put in the time and SUSTAIN it for a long period of time. 

3.) The key is to really study abroad. There is not amount of self-study that can replace the immersion. It was nice getting into the Rosetta stone but it was all memorization, and not internalization which is the essence of immersion. 

4.) The trick is to craft a life-style that is exposed with Spanish. It was for this very reason I got into Salsa/Bachata/Merengue -- at least I was exposed. I also made it to a point to mack Spanish-speaking girls. haha

The journey, not the destination, is the reward. :)



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