Kathryn teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) at Bilingual Bridges, and she also speaks Spanish. Listen up, language learners, because Kathryn’s Spanish learning experience is likely going to sound very familiar.
Let’s begin by finding out what ignited her interest to learn Spanish in the first place. Like so many of us, Kathryn grew up with an eagerness to travel the world, explore diverse cultures, discover new foods, and learn languages. However, what’s not so common about Kathryn’s story is that she was awarded a unique opportunity to participate in a high school mission trip to Mexico. She shared that it was this trip that truly opened her eyes to other ways of living, and gave her an appreciation for learning about other cultures and languages.
Nonetheless, for the majority of language learners, there comes a time (or many!) when we begin doubting our progress toward mastering a new language. We ask ourselves, “Is this just a waste of time? Maybe I’m too old. Maybe I’m just bad at languages. Maybe it’s just physiologically impossible to wrap my tongue around ‘perro’ and pronounce it with a double r.” Well, you’re certainly not alone because Kathryn’s experienced many of these days, too.
She shared with us, “The toughest moments in my Spanish journey have been the times when I thought I should have been further along than I was, and I felt defeated. However, I kept pressing through and motivated myself to do the best I could because I thought any progress is better than no progress.” This healthy attitude coupled with an especially supportive friend, who pushed Kathryn to forge ahead and learn Spanish. “My friend who took Spanish lessons with me in Bolivia has been such a huge encouragement to me.”
Now an elementary English as a Second Language teacher in a culturally diverse setting, Kathryn’s Spanish skills enable her to communicate more efficiently with my Spanish-speaking friends and colleagues, and to build better rapport with her Spanish-speaking students. Kathryn’s story shows a powerful mix of determination and love for learning.