Hi, my name’s Kerri Hughes, I’m a sophomore at Salem College from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was really difficult to sort of switch your brain into always trying to be, you know, communicating in Spanish. But, it was also kind of fun because you ended up having to play, like, charade games to try to get across that “yes I did like this food” or “no I do not want that” or stuff like that. So yeah, I think the whole language barrier is challenging but it’s kind of fun to overcome.
I think one of the most surprising things is the amount of family time that there is. I mean, I’m from a fairly large Italian family so I was used to that but, um, I’m also personally a very introverted person, so having everyone around at all points in time was a little overwhelming at first, but, you know, you kind of sort of start to adapt. But the family dynamic is really unique here, like I mean I thought I came from a crazy Italian family, but, here it’s on a whole other level. And, you know, everyone’s talking a mile a minute and everyone’s so excited to be with everyone and there’s kind of this energy within the home that’s really cool.
I think one of the things that I’ll take from [the program] is kind of, um, like just letting go and go with the flow because here, like, you know it’s not your native language and you don’t really know the city when you first come here and you kinda just have to go with it. And personally I’m type A, so I’m very “things must have a plan, we know what we’re doing at what point in time.” But, you know, we were just like “oh yeah, we gotta walk six blocks-ish, this way and we’ll get to the park” sort-of-thing. And you may get lost but it’s kind of really fun, and, um, so I think that’s what I’ll take away from it, is a bit more confidence in not always knowing exactly what’s happening.
I think, for future students, I would recommend an immersion program. I mean, it’s hard, and it’s stressful, and sometimes you’re like “oh my god I just want to go home so I can speak my own language,” but, um, it’s really rewarding. You kind of get a lot out of it. I would say know what you’re getting into if you’re not up for being challenged on, you know, all fronts, really reconsider it, but if you’re willing to just take a chance and see what happens I’d say it’s definitely something to go for.