el aprender

I realize that although we have given y’all an idea of a number of the places, people, an activities that fill our days here, we haven’t talked much about what in reality is the main activity- learning Spanish!

All the students at pop wuj have 4 hours of one-on-one Spanish class, with a teacher who meets you where you are. The teachers are all really interesting/smart and have different styles, so I’ll let Jamie tell about her teacher Luis (briefly, he’s the bomb).

My teacher is named Gerson and he’s also studying for his masters in psychology, so we’ve spent a good deal of time talking about health care stuff, his possible research topics (he’s interested in adolescents, so we had a fascinating conversation about body image concerns and the cultural differences between the US and here!), and other societal problems. The basic structure of the class will be some chit-chatting about my and Jamies adventures about town, then some grammar or vocab review which we’ll practice by having a conversation, which are either more serious (he pretends to be a patient coming into clinic) or more absurd (he asks me to explain what kind of life I would imagine for my future daughter named Fifi). The sheer randomness of our conversations have led to some great vocab words- pasarela (catwalk AND fashion show), alborotarse (to get messed up), chantajear (to blackmail), el peste (the plague), cargarse la culpa (to lay a guilt trip on), en ayunas (on an empty stomach), persignarse (to make the sign of the cross), el Eje (the Axis powers), and many more.

I know that many students have way more structured classes that focus more on grammar, so I think you can kinda ask your teacher for what you want/need. For me just talking rapid fire about all sorts of random things is a great way to stop thinking in English and then translating, and instead just think and speak in Spanish. My favorite class so far was when we went out to a coffee shop w Jamie and her teacher Luis and just talked about the intricate and alborotado US health care system. My ability to lay out complicated and passionate arguments in Spanish is definitely improving!

-Claire

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