Living In A Country Where You Don't Speak The Language
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Living In A Foreign Country Without Knowing The Language Is Hard But You Can Do It With The Right Attitude

What it's like to live in South America with barely any fluency in the language.

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Living In A Foreign Country Without Knowing The Language Is Hard But You Can Do It With The Right Attitude
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¡Hola, mi nombre es Giovanni!

That is the only Spanish I used to know before moving to Peru when I was starting seventh grade.

I must admit, I was terrified. But I knew my family would put me into a school that spoke, for the most part, English. There was a school in Lima, Peru called Colegio Franklin Delano Roosevelt that was an all-American school I wanted to attend. Well, that did not work out and I ended up going to an all-Spanish speaking school called Colegio San Jose de Monterrico. Hearing my mother tell me I would go to an all-Spanish speaking school was terrifying, especially since I barely knew the language. How would I actually learn the material and make new friends?

I remember walking in on the first day and shaking since the atmosphere was completely different.

Hearing all the other students speaking Spanish at 200 words a second was making me dizzy. The person leading me to my classroom barely knew any English and pointed to my class I would be in and left. That was it. She left me in the classroom without any knowledge of what was to come next. I sat down, and the bell rang. All these students started to walk in and sit in their assigned seats. It was that awkward moment where the teacher came in, and I had to introduce myself. The teacher knew how to speak English (thankfully).

I was happy to figure out that I was not the only one who knew how to speak fluent English in my class, so it was not an issue to finally meet some people I can hopefully be friends with.

As soon to come, I found out that my "teacher" was just like a homeroom teacher, and the people would come to teach us each subject. Being honest, I did not learn much since taking notes in Spanish was probably the most challenging thing ever.

Eventually, I started to learn how to speak and write better in Spanish.

It was very hard, but with determination, I was able to overcome that barrier of not understanding a word of what people were saying, to entirely speaking, writing, and communicating with my teachers and classmates. I ended up being seventh in my class for that year. Sadly, I had to leave to return to the United States. It was a great experience, and I made life-long friends. I also have the great opportunity to meet with them every year, since my mother and other family members live there.

Maybe I should have practiced my Spanish before landing myself into a foreign country.

Though, at that point in time, I am glad that I did not because learning through actually immersing myself every day like that got me speaking Spanish how I am talking today — fluently.

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