There’s only five days left in my study abroad program. I’ve learned more Spanish here in six weeks than I have in two years while studying in university, despite the fact that I’m already fluent. I’ve learned everything about how an infant acquires language, to the different types of periods there are at the end of sentences, to the origins of Mexican traditions.
The teachers here, although tough graders, actually teach. In the States I’ve sat in classes in which teachers are amazed at my fluency in Spanish, and just for that give me high A’s on all of my assignments. That’s not the case here. Here, I have teachers who have spoken the language since they learned to speak, instead of only learning the language for their Ph.D.’s. The teachers are compassionate and most importantly, they’re patient.
My host family is a dream. They’re an old couple, who have been married more than 50 years, 56 I believe. The host dad turned 81 yesterday, and the host mom will be 78 this year. I feel like I’ve known them my whole life. Every morning we have breakfast together, and every morning there’s freshly squeezed orange juice. My host mom and I have had conversations in which she tells me about the losses of two of her children, and her parents, to how she met her husband of 56 years. I talk to her about what makes my heart heavy, yet I haven’t told her that leaving her home will contribute to those reasons.
Studying abroad in Mexico has been liberating, and has only reinforced my plan of coming back to attend grad school. I haven’t left but I can’t wait to come back.