Rachel, outbound to Spain

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Halfway… 5/10 months. I can’t believe it’s already been 5 months that I’ve been on exchange. I couldn’t ask for better friends, family or school. I am truly blessed for this opportunity, thank you so much to Rotary, my family (especially my parents) and everyone who supports me. 

I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to learn 2 different languages on my exchange. Living in a bilingual society has been the most interesting part of my exchange. A lot of the exchange students in Catalonia find that Catalan being the prominent language is a major handicap to learning Spanish but I have embraced it. I came on my exchange understanding Spanish but I had never spoken it before exchange, I was always too embarrassed of messing up. I have learned that learning a language, you're going to mess up, it’s normal. I was conversational with Spanish my first month here and I never found Catalan a major problem other than in social settings. Normally, everyone here speaks Catalan with each other, but, to me they know to speak Spanish. After 5 months I finally understand most things in Catalan and it has made my exchange so much better. Like I mentioned in my last post, every week, I have 2 hours of individual Catalan classes, it’s helping me improve a lot . I still have some improving to do on my Spanish so I have started Spanish classes to fix my grammatical mistakes. My goal by the end of my exchange is for my Spanish to be perfect and to be conversational in Catalan. 

To any future outbound who is reading this, I guarantee exchange will be one of the best decisions of your life but you always have to remember that you're representing your state and country. You have the chance everyday to shape the way people from the US are viewed, it's a big responsibility.