James, Spanish Academy Student
In language immersion, you discover pretty quickly that you’re not going to speak Spanish just because you want to; you’re going to speak Spanish because you need to.
“During probably the first week, all my dreams were English, and I would wake up in the morning saying maybe a sentence or two in English, which wasn’t too good. But then, later, maybe week two or three, the dreams started being in Spanish. And I would wake up in the morning talking in Spanish without even thinking about it.
“I came into this thinking, oh, I already know tons of Spanish. I can already read Spanish, write Spanish, speak it okay. I’m not going to learn too much more. But what you learn isn’t just Spanish. You learn how to communicate. You learn how to communicate with people that don’t speak Spanish. Some people in there don’t speak Spanish as well as I do, and I don’t speak Spanish as well as some other people. But we can all communicate with each other. And that’s one skill that I don’t think you’ll learn at another academy.
“Here, you’ll learn how to communicate with people that normally you just can’t communicate with. Immersion is how you learn, because once you’re immersed, that’s how you learn that you need to communicate. You’re not going to communicate just because you want to. You’re going to learn to communicate because you need to.
“I chose this Academy based on an internet search, originally. And there were a number of options, but I chose this one, because, one, it was a nice location. Two, it seemed like this was the most immersive of all the options. Like other options showed, oh, you can study Spanish six hours a day and then go home or this or that. But none of them were true language immersion all the time.
“The first day after signing the Language Pledge was kind of difficult, only because I wasn’t really prepared to have to think in Spanish all the time. For the first hour or so, it was pretty easy, because I was constantly reminded to talk in Spanish, to listen in Spanish. But by hour two, three, four, it started to get a little difficult, because it’s constantly Spanish being thrown at you, and you’re just not ready for it. But with time, you start to get used to it.
“I’ve done three different cultural classes here, which were Latin art, Latin cooking and Latin dance. And of those three, I’d say my favorite was Latin dance, mostly just because I like to dance.
“My proudest accomplishment would probably be watching a movie in Spanish without subtitles and understanding it, because that was pretty difficult, because spoken Spanish is not my strong point, but it was really cool too. I could close my eyes and just listen and understand what was going on and that was incredible.”