Wednesday, February 24, 2010

the challenges of being bilingual

i have a newfound respect for those people in the world who can speak more than one language. and admittedly i have very little experience in being multilingual, but it’s exhausting! i haven’t yet reached the point where spanish has ‘clicked’ (as my mother says it will eventually), and i still often find myself having to separate people’s phrases into individual words in order to understand. my brain is constantly working.

switching back and forth between english and spanish makes it even harder, and sometimes i wish this program was more of a complete immersion experience. each student here is taking classes at the monteverde institute, all but one of which are in english. then at the end of the day we go home to our host families and speak spanish. it’s no wonder my brain can’t keep up.

but then sometimes, at completely random moments, it hits me, and i realize that i am living in a country where people don’t speak english, and i am managing to communicate. i live with a family, i go shopping, i have daily interactions – and it all ends up fine. i can do this. and that is one of the coolest feelings.

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