My Spanish studies vol 2

In February, I registered myself for a 6-month Spanish course in the University of Havana. By now, my Spanish courses are over. Time flies so fast! It is hard to give a fair assessment for myself, but I assume that I have made a huge development in my Spanish studies. When I arrived in Cuba, I was only able to order a beer for myself (una cerveza, por favor). But now, in addition to ordering a beer, I can manage having a conservation covering simple topics in Spanish. During these 6 months, I have reached so called “advanced level”, which should mean that my Spanish level is in the range of B1 and B2.

I have learned a lot, but there is still a long way to go to reach my targeted level. I need to do a lot of practicing so that my speaking and understanding would progress more smoothly. For me, Spanish resembles mathematics. When I’m speaking in Spanish, I make calculations in my head to figure out the formula I need to use for that circumstance.

It is strange that in other foreign languages (English and Finnish), which I’m able to communicate on some level, I understand more than I can speak. However, in Spanish, I could speak more than I understand. There are several reasons, but one of them is that Cubans speak very fast and they eat some of the words’ endings. In addition to this, the sentence construction (order of words) is a little bit different compared to Estonian and English. For example, when I have figured out one sentence, the Cuban has said at least four more sentences, which I missed while I was working on the first sentence.

In the course of time, we started to communicate with other students in Spanish during breaks in the university (except for the first months when the conversation took place in English). There are two reasons; our Spanish skills were developed so much that we were able to chat in Spanish and also there were many students from Angola, who didn’t speak English.

My biggest problem in relation to Spanish is that I don’t practice it enough outside of the university. Mainly it is caused by the fact that I’m not very talkative and I’m especially not in Spanish (a language I don’t yet feel comfortable). That’s one of the main reasons I started to take private classes every weekday in June and July (in addition to classes in the university). During the private classes, we were focusing mainly on communicating. We were talking about different topics with the teacher and analyzing various articles/texts, while she corrected mistakes as I made them. These private classes have mentally helped me eliminate my fear of speaking in Spanish. Of course, I make mistakes when talking, but the more I talk the less mistakes I make.

In addition, I watch different TV series and enjoy the cinema for the purpose of training my ear.

In August, there are no classes in the university. Therefore, I will travel to a lot of different places in Cuba. During my road trip, I have an excellent chance to practice my Spanish. I’m a little bit lazy, if I don’t have a necessity and I don’t chat just for fun. During the trip I will be forced to manage various matters. Like a pain in the ass, requiring me to speak Spanish.

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