Ever since I was about 9 years old I have loved listening to Spanish and learning to speak it. The idea of learning about different cultures and places fascinated me. I would read books in Spanish, practice pronunciation and memorize as many words as I could.
When I was about 20 I traveled to different Spanish speaking countries to really get a handle on the language, learn local expressions and finally fulfill my dream of becoming fluent.
I have now been speaking Spanish for over 18 years and I am more and more convinced that the best way to learn a language is through conversation.
In the beginning you won’t speak perfectly, and learning a language takes time. But a language must be spoken to be acquired, there has to be interaction with native speakers, that is how one can truly learn.
However, learning a second language is not just about the language.
It teaches us to be patient. In the beginning you may not be able to express yourself like you can in your native language. You can’t participate in a conversation like you normally would.
It teaches us to listen. You cannot respond as you would in your native language. It gives us the opportunity to truly listen to the other person’s thoughts and experiences.
Language shapes people, families and cultures, and when we learn a second language we learn to respect these different ways of thinking and lifestyles.