Yo No Hablo Espanol

The Manna group recently participated in a discussion about the difficulties and strategies of studying a new language. One of the hardest lessons I learned when moving to Ecuador was discovering that just because you got an A in high school Spanish class does not mean you can speak Spanish. Not even close. Language immersion can be very beneficial to learning but it can also be both overwhelming and isolating. The constant feeling of having so much to learn can often be an impediment to understanding a new language. My experience so far was best summed up by a TED talk on the subject. The speaker explained why language immersion isn't always the most effective way to learn, saying "you can't teach a drowning man to swim."  While I think all of the Program Directors have improved since our arrival and are no longer "drowning," we still constantly have to work to improve despite the occasional frustration. While it is exciting to see how much each of us has improved in three months, hopefully it will be even more rewarding to see how we progress after thirteen.