So I’m well past the halfway point of my time in Madrid, with July 15 right around the corner, the sun is setting on my time in Spain.
It’s sad to think about because this city has become like another home to me, I can easily picture myself living here in the future. Yet even so, getting to envision myself in this city took being uncomfortable for a period of time. For this reason, I’ve decided to focus the next two blog posts on things that made me appreciate how things are done at home, but also respect how things are done in Spain.
For this blog, I’m going to focus one last time on my internship.
You here often how hard it is to communicate in a different language, that it is a frustrating matter that has to be actively managed in order to get used to it. I can testify to the truth of that statement.
In the beginning, the most frustrating part was trying to communicate my thoughts, but not having the adequate vocabulary to do it. I didn’t take Business Spanish, so often I would have to sit back and be silent even though I had an opinion on the matter we were discussing. For example, I went to a few entrepreneurial presentations around the city of Madrid, in which entrepreneurs present their ideas to a room full of investors. Afterwards, my coworker would always ask me what I thought about the project, but the only thing I muster up was “me gusto” or “no me gusto.” In actuality I had a lot to say: no, I didn’t like that project because I don’t think an adequate market exists for the company, yes they don’t have competition, but that’s probably because the competition was smart enough to see that this market has no potential for growth; but I never said these things.
It wasn’t until after the second presentation that I decided to try and change that, and so from that point on, I started to actively study vocabulary in order to prepare myself. My crowning moment came when there was a meeting with one of our in-house investors and afterwards that looked to me to see what my thoughts were. Yes, my response did start with “no me gusto,” but this time I was able to support my reasoning in an intelligible and logical way.
It’s definitely been one of my proudest moments in Spain, being validated by your coworkers when they say good idea, or good job on this report, or you speak very well, is such an encouraging thing. It’s also helped me to organize my thoughts in English better as well. When speaking a language that’s not your native language, it’s necessary to process quickly what others are saying and arrange your response in a way that makes sense. Of course you can say that about any language, native or not, but thinking in Spanish, and being forced to actively listen while thinking is a skill that I’m excited to employ when I return home.