Don’t talk to strangers
Do you remember going to the playground at the age of ten with you friends? Putting on your clothes especially for playing outside and as soon as you would walk out of the door your mother would say: ‘Remember to not talk to strangers!’. I’m very sorry to say mom, but that is exactly what I have done during my time in Spain. To learn, I must add.
One of my challenges during my time in Spain was talking Spanish. I have been studying the language for more than two years now, but actually having a conversation in this language? I had no idea how to do so. Until Spain gave me the opportunity to go to a so-called ‘Intercambio’. What this is? An excuse to go to a cafe, have a few drinks, listen to some music and talk to strangers. Of course, it is way better than I just made it sound.
So, on a Thursday I went to a café called ‘Sip & Wonder’ to take part in an Intercambio to improve my Spanish. All by myself, not knowing anyone around hearing my mom in the back of my head saying to not talk to strangers. However, it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable nights during my stay in Spain. Of course, it started out to be a little bit awkward because you have to find out who you feel connected with and who you can talk to about similar hobbies and interests. Even though I did make some grammar mistakes, I did take the effort to go outside of my comfort zone and talk to strangers in a language I didn’t really speak.
Now that I’m back in the Netherlands I feel that I can say: ‘I speak Spanish’. I may still make some grammar mistakes and I may still have problems finding the right words, but I understand almost everything when people talk to me and I have learned so many things. Also, that it is okay to talk to strangers, as long as doing so has a specific goal and talking to them can help you in achieving this goal.
Enjoy, talk to strangers, get out of your comfort zone.