Everyone has to take a foreign language for school at one point in their life, and we tend to get excited at the prospects of finally learning something beyond cuss words in another language. By the end of the so-called "cultural experience," we've realized that learning another language is totally not as fun nor as easy as we thought it would be.
1. The minute you walk into the class, you know if it is going to be easy or hard based on the moment the professor opens his or her mouth. Entirely Spanish. My fear has come to life. What is he saying? Does he realize that this is an intermediate level class? Sir, sometimes I struggle to follow along in English class—please lower your expectations! All I can think is: ¿Qué? Repita, profesor. Más despacio, por favor. (What? Repeat! Slow down, please!!!) Oh, you want to know how I'm doing, huh? Yo soy muy triste. Why? Porque yo no entiendo español. Is anyone else struggling? That would make me feel a whole lot better about myself. I did not sign up for this. Hey, if we look at the positives, at least I have mastered the art of complaining in Spanish.
2. The never-ending piles of vocab notecards you carry in your backpack turn up in all the places you don't expect them: in the glove box of your car, under your bed, in your sock drawer—those pesky little cards are everywhere!!! No me gusta!
3. You try to do your homework assignments and realize that you don't even understand the directions. So, you decide to use your resources, by which I mean the internet. You quickly realize that the internet sometimes lies.
4. You are assigned to watch videos/novels in that class so you can practice hearing the language, but honestly, you just read the subtitles. Oh damnnnn—Teresa is a such a gold-digger. I can't believe she would lead on Mariano like that. You don't mind the soaps, but you haven't really learned much. Except for the fact that Teresa es una perra.
5. Stem-changing verbs and false cognates... Joder mi vida!!! How am I supposed to remember which verbs have an irregular yo form or stem change except in the nosotros and vosotros form? Also, no gusto falsos amigos. Like why the deception? Life is already a struggle!!! My teacher asked me how I was doing and I said, "yo soy embarazada porque derramó café sobre mí." What I was trying to say was, I am embarrassed because I spilled coffee on myself. Apparently, I said I am pregnant because I spilled coffee on myself. I was mortified, but at least he got a laugh out of it.
6. A panic alarm goes off in your brain when you are writing an in-class essay and you realize that you only have 5 minutes left and are still 67 words short of meeting the minimum word limit. So you do what any smart student does during that time; you smile through the tears and literally write the same stuff 20 times to meet the word-count. Teresa es pobre. Ella no gusta la pobreza. Ella gusta dinero. Ella quiero dinero. (Teresa is poor. She doesn't like poverty. She likes money. She wants money.) We get it. But, hey! Technically, it is a perfect essay in a grammatical sense. If he didn't want me to repeat stuff, he should've specified in the directions.
7. Tenses and basically grammar in general—I honestly can't do anything beyond the present and past tense. Reflexive verbs/pronouns, direct and indirect objects, imperfect tense, and all that hodgepodge is beyond me. So, I do what a good student does: I go to office hours. ¡Hola profesor! No, no soy embarazada. Haha, so funny. Repita la lección completa en inglés. Si, la lección entera. How's that for a laugh? Wouldn't it just be easier for both of us if you used more inglés? Just a thought.
8. We all have that one kid in our class who actually understands what is happening and is doing very well. In class, that kid and the professor have a grand old time making lame jokes (which I kinda wish I could understand... kinda).
Well, taking a foreign language is definitely an experience. For those of us who don't plan to major in one, we only need to make it through the end of the semester! I need to go back to studying for mi examen tomorrow. Jesús, ayúdame. Adiós amigos!