Living in Spain, don’t speak the language

¡Hola! My name is Hilary and I’m from the North Shore of Chicago. I’m a junior at Boston College and studying Finance and Business Analytics with a minor in International Studies for Management. I’ll be spending this fall in Madrid continuing my studies and (attempting) to learn Spanish.

The last thing my mom said to me before I left her at the United Airlines check in desk at O’Hare was “Remember: you look American!!”. Fast forward to my first week of classes at Carlos III University in Madrid and boy did I feel American. During my three months abroad I will be taking three classes in Spanish and only two in English. Now, the common question I got before I left was “Oh so you speak Spanish?”…well not really.

I came into college thinking I would pursue a Spanish minor in addition to something in the Carroll School Management. After my freshmen year I decided that although I loved learning about different cultures, I didn’t think a Spanish minor was for me. I instead decided to pursue the International Studies for Management minor through the Carroll School with a focus on Spanish speaking countries. Basically, what this means is that it has been over a year since I have taken a Spanish class!

My three classes in Spanish don’t sound quite as intimidating when I break them down… one is Spanish language class with all international students, the other is a class with my program coordinator and the twenty other Eagles spending the semester in Madrid with me and the third is a class about Spanish politics with all international students. Now, that doesn’t sound so bad, but it turns out that “international students” can still mean that you’re very good at Spanish. I would say the majority of students are very capable Spanish speakers and it makes me pretty embarrassed to speak. I’m going on week two of classes here and I’m yet to participate in class. Although now I’m incredibly intimidated by the language and unbelievably aware of how American I look, I’m excited for the challenge. I’ll check back when I’m halfway through and hablaré español.


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