She’s back in the States! Kjera has been very generous in taking the time to share with us a lot of her South American adventures in our Diary of a Language Learner series this summer. She recently returned and wanted to share what she learned and tell you about her revitalized determination to learn a new language.
by Kjera Nuñez Rigotti
What an adventure I have had this summer! Originally, I was very hesitant about the idea of staying in a foreign country for three months. I am so glad I came, though. Chile is truly amazing! I have gotten to visit many great areas, such as; Las Condes, Santiago, Maipú, Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, Coquimbo, and La Serena. I have gotten to practice my Spanish-speaking with many different people in all of these wonderful places. Every city I have visited has had something different to offer, and I have learned so much from these experiences.
I have not been living like a tourist, staying in luxury hotels and such; that is not in my budget. In fact, it took me a year just to save up for the passports and plane tickets. But, I am glad that I have had this experience of living how real Chilenos live. I have stayed in tiny houses with family and their pets. I have had wonderful times, and also suffered some of the hardships that life offers. I have learned the customs and courtesies of every-day life. And, I have done it all in Spanish. This was not a smooth process. The mishaps I have had with the language are innumerable. Also, I cannot say that continuing to improve my Spanish will be smooth-sailing from here. I will still continue to struggle. I am not one of the lucky ones that it comes naturally to; I have come to accept that. For what I lack in natural ability, though, I make up for in determination. I WILL continue to work hard, and progress a little more each week. And someday, I will be speaking Spanish like a pro. Something I realized by being here is that I want to know even more languages. I have decided that language-learning will always be a part of my life. I am going to learn as many languages as I can in my lifetime. And, I am teaching my son how important and useful it is to know other languages. He is now a language-learner as well; something I hope he continues throughout his life, and passes on to his children as well.
There is an amazing world out there, and language is the key to so many awesome opportunities. Never give up! Even if you struggle like me, and at times it seems impossible. Use every resource you can, be brave enough to keep trying, and you will succeed.