Diversity Abroad – Blog

Tennis

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

Mariposa Foundation

Mariposa Foundation

The biggest problem I had in the Dominican Republic was the language barrier. Before last summer I had not taken a Spanish class since 10th grade in high school. I have always thought Spanish was a hard language to learn although most people beg to differ. On Sunday all of the Mariposa staff and volunteers for the summer had a big dinner together.  Everyone except me and the other 3 girls from Alabama could speak Spanish. I felt so handicapped. Not only did everyone speak Spanish but I was in a group with a man from Cuba, native Dominicans and a man from Haiti. It was so many different dialects of Spanish.

I tried my best to use the minimal Spanish I know to make out what people were saying but they were talking to fast. I did not contribute much to the group conversations because I am not great at the language. I felt really dumb to ask people to translate what was going on. This really motivated me to learn the language.

I found it hard to teach the girls tennis and this motivated me even more to learn Spanish. I started using the app Dualingo and talking more and more with the girls to learn the language. I was never that good at Spanish since I did not have people to conversate with. Being in a Spanish speaking country force me to perfect my Spanish. I really enjoyed speaking Spanish and the girls would often laugh at me because of high I pronounced certain words.

I believe it is very important to learn Spanish. It is the second most spoken language in the world. Also since the Latino population in the USA is increasing it is very important to know Spanish. I believe it is important for anyone to learn a second language. While abroad in each of the 11 countries I visited the schools were teaching the students a second language, usually English. They found that it was important for students to be equipped with another language to have success in life. They usually choose English, so a student could possibly come to the US and study. I know if I master Spanish and other languages I will have an additional skill set help me in life.