Overcoming the Subtle Difficulties in Your Spanish Program Can Feel Daunting… How Can You Get Over the Hump?
We recently came across an interesting story on how study abroad helped an American Literature and ESL teacher in her career. First and foremost, this teacher cited her study abroad experience in Spain as being the catalyst to her career epiphany. The goal of traveling to Spain was to increase her Spanish fluency, like most study/intern abroad candidates. In the beginning, it was overwhelming and even hopeless at times. She struggled more than she ever imagined. As her program went along, she discovered that the key to increasing fluency is in the process and strategies you use to navigate your way through a foreign language.
Here are her tips:
- In the classroom, sit in front and minimize distractions.
- When reading, get the gist and overall idea of a paragraph instead of trying to understand the words individually (the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts).
- If possible, use context clues… if you can’t, then refer to a dictionary.
- In conversation, use facial and physical cues… non-verbal communication can help you construct meaning.
- Don’t be afraid to ask someone to slow down or say it again.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions.
- Lastly, when you need to… speak your native language! It’s totally fine.
These tips helped guide her through a foreign culture and language. More importantly, these strategies also helped her career-wise in gaining a better understanding of how to teach to individuals who may be going through the same thing she experienced. Yet again, this story is another example of how an experience abroad can facilitate professional growth and provide additional tools to leave you better equipped in your respective career.
– Adelante Abroad
(the aforementioned referenced blog is by Elizabeth Tanzer-Ritter : http://blog.studyabroad101.com/2015/02/but-how-did-study-abroad-help-me-in-my-career/)