Roughly five years ago I left my job working at travel-focused start-up GapDaemon.com, packed up my life in London and came, rather spontaneously and naively, to Spain. What can I say? I was relatively young (twenty-five) and was driven by a bloody-minded desire to not be monolingual and have some level of mastery over a tongue I was not born with. Spanish was the choice. Stemming from reasons between the language’s relative similarity to English, its widespread use and well, convenience.
Embarking on that adventure, I remember thinking at the time that I’d be done in two years tops. That I’d get somewhere near high-level command of the language if I knuckled down and immersed myself neatly for a solid twenty-four months.
I even started a blog about it, which chronicled my early learning processes and progress, as well as informed (and, dare I say it) entertained people along the way.
Little did I know however that between blogging, trying to stay afloat in a foreign country and learning a language, I would struggle a fair deal and constantly ask myself if it was worth the aforementioned sacrifices. Looking back, almost five years later, I can say definitely yes. It was all worth it. And I’d do it all over again.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t do a lot of things differently however. And that’s exactly the theme of this piece.
So after studying at the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas and passing the examinations at the end of the Avanzado 1 (advanced 1) class earlier this month – and being able to officially say I speak Spanish pretty well (Not C2 DELE level well, but well enough that I’d consider myself fluent in terms of being able to talk to anyone about anything, read and write at a high level and work competently in the language if need be), what have I learned from this near-five year journey?
Strap in. This is going to places you’d perhaps never expect.