I am writing this post from the bedroom of my sister’s apartment in New York city. I think the jet-lag has worn off by now, since I was lucky enough to arrive at JFK around nighttime. Surprisingly no tears have been shed: not when I turned in my last job assignment, not when I said goodbye to my host family, and not when I salsa danced with my friends for the last time. I’m proud of myself, I usually cry at everything.
But I only have joy.
I have the joy of this experience to last me a lifetime. The people I met will forever be ingrained in my heart. The Spanish I improved will be etched in my brain. I finished one adventure and I am on to the next! I’m excited to see what is coming next. Additionally, I know I will be back to Madrid someday. Maybe even next year. I’m strongly considering applying for the auxiliar program, where you live in Spain for a year and become an English language assistant. A lot of the people at my job are auxiliars and they love it!
Now, this joy I have wasn’t immediate. It was built through all the experiences I was able to have and what I learned, but learning doesn’t come without making mistakes, which I made plenty of. Being in a non-english speaking country, there are bound to be miscommunications. Overall, aside from a few mildly embarrassing incidents, I was able to understand more just by using context clues. Even if I didn’t understand every word of what someone was saying, the context allowed me to understand better. I had to do this with a few words and phrases. I noticed them being said in certain contexts. For example, “vale”. I never knew what it meant or even heard it used before in my Spanish classes. But people said it all the time! It wasn’t a big deal because essentially its a filler word, but it’s just like saying “okay”. Similarly “a ver” means “let’s see”. This one took a little more getting used to because it actually may require some action. I was showing one of my co-workers a photo, and my other co-worker wanted to see it too. So he said “a ver” and I didn’t register that he was even talking to me. He kept saying it, and finally he just gestured for me to hand him the camera to see it. It clicked then. After that, if I would take any photos of the children at my school, they would say “a ver!” and I would know that they wanted to see it. Mostly small things like that were the bulk of my communication errors.
Now, on the topic of feedback, I was given feedback in a very similar manner to my current job at home. It was always in-person feedback and I would have to show each draft of my project, because with video editing, you just never get it perfect the first time. It takes many edits to get it to a point where my supervisor is happy with it. By that time, I’m so tired of watching the same visuals and hearing the same music, that when it’s done I will never watch it again. There are times when I hear a song from a video I’ve edited and just get flashbacks. Anyway, I think this mechanism is very effective becauseI know exactly what needs to be changed, or if they don’t understand something I did, I can immediately clarify it for them. I can also see their immediate reaction to things which just helps me get to know what choices they liked or didn’t like.
It was different with my supervisor in Spain than at home because in she didn’t know a ton about video editing. She knows a lot about what aesthetic she wants to achieve and helped me understand what she wanted. But my supervisor back home is just about an expert with video editing. He will knit pick every single thing I do. It’s intimidating, but I’ve also learned more than I ever have from him. Now I edit my own videos as if he were watching them, and let me tell you it really takes my work up a notch. Everything I make, I just imagine that he’s going to see it and it makes me want to perfect my work. I can edit other people’s work too and catch a lot of things they would’ve missed. I’m no expert or anything, but I’ve definitely been improving all along and I know this internship really helped me hone my skills!