I am so relieved that I no longer have to take any more Spanish classes. Minoring in Spanish was way out of my comfort zone. I’m an introvert and I’m not much of a talker, but in Spanish class you need to do a lot of talking… En Espanol.
It was honestly kind of terrifying. If you are an introvert or just shy, here is what happens when you decide to take foreign language classes.
1. You start off pretty excited at the thought of learning a new language.
You don’t tell anyone, though, because then they’ll try to talk to you in that language.
2. Then, you look at your syllabus and realize that participation is a big part of your grade and you kind of start to panic.
And no, you don’t get participation points for speaking in English.
3. You are terrified that the teacher will call on you and you won’t know how to answer in that language.
Or worse, you might not even understand the question.
4. So you try avoiding eye contact, looking through your bag, taking a drink of water, hiding under your desk – anything that might keep you from being called on.
Not that it actually works. You will always get called on when you are least ready.
5. When you do get called on, you panic and freeze.
Ummmm…uhhhhh…stop looking at me!
6. You envy the overly-confident white guy who has the confidence to have long conversations, even though his pronunciation is way off.
“Lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white man.”
7. Soon, you realize that you are starting to get really good at lying, because you would rather make something up that’s easy to translate than give a truthful answer.
“What did I have for breakfast? Umm pizza. What did I have for dinner? Uh pizza. Si, sólo como Pizza.”
Pizza is Pizza in every language right?
8. Your first couple of classes are basically just a bunch of ice breakers where you have to talk about yourself and random topics.
Which sucks if you hate ice breakers.
You know the point is to practice speaking the language, but you still hate talking about yourself. So you just end up feeling really, really uncomfortable.
9. Then you learn to use the past tense, so you have to talk about your childhood memories, which gets a bit too personal.
Tell you about my childhood? Cómo se dice none of your business?
10. Then you learn the future tense and talk about where you see yourself in ten years.
As if you don’t have to answer that question enough during job/college interviews. I don’t know how to answer that… in any language.
11. You spend most of the time calculating how much time there is left until class is over.
We still have 10 minutes left so I might still get called on again…unless that one guy talks for a really long time.
12. You have to face your worst nightmare: Group projects.
13. You realize you have two options: You can work with native speakers who make you feel intimidated by their fluency…
Please stop speaking so fast!
14. …or you can work with non-native speakers, who are just as clueless at you.
But at least you don’t feel like a complete idiot when you are with them.
These projects can actually be much more anxiety-inducing than your final exams.
16. In more advanced classes, you have an immersion experience requirement.
You have to go out and socialize… in another language.
17. Even more terrifying: Oral exams.
Sitting across from your language professor for an oral exam kind of feels like you are on trial.
18. But you eventually impress yourself with a surprisingly well-spoken and grammatically correct response.
Woah. Where did that come from?
19. You realize that learning a new language was totally worth it and is a big confidence booster.
You are a total badass and now you know how to say that in more than one language.
20. But you still don’t tell too many people about your language minor.
They’ll actually expect you to speak it well.