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Congratulations to everyone graduating! Whether you’re getting your degree or leaving high school, now is the time to throw caps in the air, burn your notes and rejoice that you never have to study maths/molecular biology/origami again! But for those of you who are leaving your language learning behind, or are reminiscing of your long-ago student life, you can revive your Spanish!
For many people, learning languages at school isn’t overly fun. The lists and lists of verbs to learn, speaking in front of the class when you’re worried people will laugh at you, the seemingly pointless discussion topics – I understand your pain. Truly I do. Because when I got to Spain, I could talk all day about the pros and cons of nuclear power, or what I had for dinner last week, but I really struggled opening my bank account. Personally, I didn’t find my school had properly equipped me for using the language in real life. But now you’re free of school, you can learn or refresh your Spanish the fun way!
Because languages aren’t just another subject confined to the classroom; they’re useful, relevant and a way to connect with the world. So now that school is becoming a distant memory or your uni days are a source of nostalgia, you don’t have to regret dropping a language; it’s like riding a bike, albeit a very wobbly one, but you never forget completely!
There are so many ways to refresh you’re language. Why not try online resources! Read the news from ‘El Pais’ instead of CNN, put the Spanish language option on the DVD you’re about to watch, or try re-reading your favourite book in Spanish (Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal anyone?!). It’s the little things like this can keep your Spanish knowledge ticking over, instead of casting it out of your memory like quadratic equations.
You could take a course! Due to the high demand of Spanish now, especially in the business world, there’ll be nightclasses near you, and it’s worth seeing if your employer/university provides or supports them. Or try and incorporate Spanish into your holiday; if you can, pop to Puerto Rico, visit Venezuela or chill out in Costa Rica. Just a weekend minibreak in Madrid can jog your memory and revive your Spanish.
Something that I’ve really enjoyed since being in Spain is doing intercambios, the Spanish for ‘exchanges’. In a world of ever increasing global mobility, many people move to the US or to the UK, who have native Spanish but need help with English. What better way to meet new people, help them integrate in their new society, and revive your Spanish, than to spend half an hour in English, and then half an hour in Spanish chatting. Check out local notice boards/the internet to find intercambios.
While it’s easy to get complacent with your languages, they’re definitely life skills, and a cool party trick at the very least! You spend years and years slaving away at school, so why give up on the fruits of your labour! Language skills do deteriorate without practise.
So, class of 2012, congratulations on making it through, good luck in the real world, and may your Spanish studies continue!