Tag Archives: practice

Speaking Spanish in Spain

By Jacob Birsen

I spent the majority of my senior year in high school saving up money  to go spend a portion of my summer with my best friend in Spain. For two years, I had been dreaming of visiting her and taking in another country’s culture.  I had taken three years of Spanish in high school and I was finally ready to try out my Spanish in a real world environment.

However, on my first day in Barcelona, I realized that Catalan, not Spanish, was the primary language spoken. The ones who spoke Spanish primarily spoke it at a pace that was too fast for me to understand, so I wasn’t as vocal with the locals as I could have been. Towards the middle of my trip we were scheduled to go visit my friend’s extended family who lived about an hour outside of Barcelona. My lack of Catalan took me from very exciting to this portion of the trip to very nervous. Many of her older family members only spoke Catalan, and the few that did speak Spanish were always speaking in Catalan so it didn’t make a difference. When we arrived at the house of my friend’s grandparents, I was lost. I sat myself down on the couch and was basically waiting for it all to be over. I stayed this way for at least half an hour, completely intimidated by locals speaking a language I couldn’t understand.  Some of the adults tried to speak to me, and although I responded in Spanish, they grew bored of my limited vocabulary and went back to speaking with the main group once again.

Continue reading Speaking Spanish in Spain

How to Practice English During Summer Vacation

By Zsuzsa Londe, Ph.D. 

Students ask this question at the end of our spring semester classes.  It is a good idea to plan to do something every day to maintain or improve your English skills. If you did not have the option to take an ALI class this summer, here are a couple of suggestions that are interesting in content and will improve your oral skills.

1. NPR (National Public Radio) is a nationwide radio station with about 900 stations in the United States.  Go to www.npr.org or to www.kcrw.com, the websites of the national and the local (LA) radio stations respectively, and listen to the broadcasts, find in-depth reporting on the latest events, and read the transcripts of the reports.  While you are getting the most up-to-date information from around the world, you are also “updating” your English. Continue reading How to Practice English During Summer Vacation