4 Obstacles to exponential language growth on Spanish immersion

4 Obstacles to Exponential Language Growth on Spanish Immersion

Everyone knows intuitively and experientially that Spanish immersion is the best way to learn Spanish. However, just because you’re traveling, doesn’t guarantee language growth on Spanish immersion!

We love Spanish Immersion programs for our high school students, undergraduate students and professional clients because we know it puts them in the best situation to learn Spanish. When you’re on a Spanish immersion program, you naturally remove many obstacles and distractions that get in the way and fight for your attention when you’re studying Spanish back home.

Spanish immersion is a significant investment of time and money. And while financial costs are relative (what may be expensive for me could be affordable for you) time isn’t relative – we all only have a finite amount! So, I wanted to share some realities of Spanish immersion and 4 potential obstacles to exponential language growth that you want to be aware of before you travel. Of course, I’m a practical guy, so keep reading and you’ll see that I’ve also added alternatives to the obstacles that threaten to stifle your language progress.

Keep these things in mind and you’ll be ready to learn all that you possibly can while you’re on Spanish immersion!

High School Spanish Immersion Trip3 Realities of Spanish Immersion Trips:

  1. Traveling to a Spanish speaking country doesn’t automatically equate to improving your Spanish language skills
  2. Selecting a solid Spanish immersion program improves your chances of gaining Spanish proficiency, but doesn’t guarantee it
  3. You hold the keys to success, your progress with the Spanish language is always up to YOU!

If, at the end of the day, your Spanish proficiency progress is primarily your responsibility, what is the secret? Why do some people benefit more from Spanish immersion trips than others? Overcoming the following 4 obstacles to Spanish growth abroad will guarantee that you maximize the potential benefits of your immersion program!

4 Obstacles to exponential language growth on immersion:

Obstacle #1: Fear

Fear of Speaking SpanishFear is a killer and a major obstacle to language growth. I’m not necessarily referring to the fear of physical danger (but it is a fantastic idea to pick a safe place to travel – like Costa Rica), I’m referring to the internal fears of how others perceive us when we’re speaking a foreign language. You must train yourself to keep this fear in check if you want to make significant strides in another language. If you can’t wrap your head around sounding silly at times and being okay with it – you will unintentionally hold yourself back forever in the language you’re trying to learn.

This fear shows up in a couple of ways:

  1. Timidity to take the first step and start out a conversation in Spanish. You can usually meet most of your basic needs with a mix of charades, a smile, and a little English; so if you succumb to timidity to get started in Spanish, you may find that you don’t actually NEED the language to get that soup at the restaurant or hail that taxi.
    • The alternative to timidity to take the first step in Spanish is not complicated. Why don’t you spend some time before you travel brainstorming some survival Spanish phrases and conversation starters that you can master and rely on to get conversations going. Once you get started in Spanish, you’ll recognize that you actually can communicate in the language and you’ll naturally keep going in Spanish (and charades too probably). So write down some basic conversation starters and some high frequency replies and you’ll be on the right track to overcome timidity!
  2. Fear of being misunderstood. One of the realities of growing up and getting older is that now you tend to be right more often than when you were younger. When you were younger, people told you “no” and corrected your thinking frequently. But now at your age, you have a life of learning and experiences under your belt to draw from and much of the time you know the “right” answers to a multitude of questions on a variety of topics. This gives you a certain level of confidence in situations that you face every day in your regular routines and familiar circles of life. But this confidence that you feel is intimately linked to your ability to communicate your knowledge and experiences. It’s okay to not be confident in your ability to communicate in Spanish, but it doesn’t have to equate to FEAR of being misunderstood; there is an alternative.
    • The alternative to your fear of being misunderstood is to not care…seriously, who cares? Take it a step further and recognize that this is actually the reason you’re going on immersion! Effective communication takes practice. It took you many years to become an effective communicator in your native language, and it will take you some time to become effective in another language as well. Logically, you should be able to agree with the idea that it’s much better to practice communicating while on immersion (since this is the actual point of you going) than to “practice” with a sick Spanish-only patient in front of you, during an important legal proceeding, or while you’re trying to solve an important HR problem at work with one of your teammates. Don’t wait until it really counts (and the stakes are high) to get your practice in; practice while you’re on immersion and when it doesn’t really matter if you make mistakes.

Obstacle #2: Frustration

Frustrated kidDifficulty communicating can be frustrating. You’ve undoubtedly experienced this on some level in your native language (in a relationship, during a heated debate, trying to describe one of those crazy dreams, etc) but it’s not usually every day, and it certainly doesn’t come up during the really simple communication exchanges.

On immersion, however, even the “simple” can get complicated. Here are 4 common frustrations while on immersion:

  1. Frustration of not being able to say something perfectly, or at least how you would say it in English. You want to say something in a certain way and you simply can’t. You don’t have the grammar for that particular construction in the target language or you lack the necessary vocabulary to say it as succinctly as you might in English. If you let this get to you every day, all day long, you’re going to be one frustrated language student at the end of each day.
    • The alternative to this frustration is to leave the translating to the translators! A translator’s job is to communicate the exact same message in an equal tone and register as the source message. You’re not a translator, you’re a person who is trying to navigate meaning across 2 languages. So, shift your communication goals from perfect messaging to meaningful communication. As soon as you make this switch, you’ll be okay with saying something like: “I go to the store yesterday” until you learn how to say “went”. The point is to use what you know to make communication happen even if it’s not perfect.
  2. Frustration by the extra effort required to complete simple tasks. This frustration is similar to the first frustration of not being able to say what you want the way you would say it in English, but now the focus of your frustration is less on the language and more on the task you’re trying to complete. You are feeling the reality that language is a tool we use to get things done, and when you struggle with the language, you have a hard time getting even daily tasks accomplished. A large percentage of my immersion clients are medical professionals, a naturally high-achieving and wicked-smart group of people. Picture yourself being accustomed to saving lives and all the complexity involved in providing medical care to someone. Now you’re in a Spanish immersion context and you’re struggling to explain to your host family that you’re not sure how to get hot water out of the shower; or you’re at the restaurant and you can’t order a soda with your meal. Talk about frustration!
    • Yes it’s frustrating, but frustration undermines your learning objectives. So, the alternative here is to accept that every situation you’re presented with on immersion is a learning opportunity – this is why you signed up – and this is your work for now. Ask yourself, if not now while on immersion, when IS the right time to work on your Spanish? The amount of frustration you feel is really all about your expectations – if you expect even the little things to be challenging, you’ll be in a great position to improve your language significantly!
  3. Frustration by differences. Now we’re talking about culture and the context or situation of your immersion program. These differences are real and palpable when you are living in another culture; this is cultural adjustment (aka “culture shock”) and most everyone goes through it on some level. When you start your immersion program, every difference is cute and charming; then those exact same differences begin to rub you the wrong way and you get cranky. Basically, you are experiencing that other people do things (and think) differently; and that clashes with what you previously thought was “normal” – possibly even “right”. If you start catching yourself saying “that’s weird” or “I can’t believe that….”, watch out; this frustration by differences is present. If everyone goes through culture shock, is there an alternative?
    • Of course there’s an alternative! Recognize that you are where you are, you are a product of your own culture, and the culture you’re living in probably thinks that you do things “weird” as well. You’re probably not going to change anyone else’s way of thinking, so forget about it! Accept the pros and cons of each culture and move on. If you dwell on it, it will produce frustration, so don’t dwell on it! Be thankful for what you have, be thankful for your history and the inherent privilege of growing up in the United States of America, and focus on learning Spanish!
  4. Frustration by unpredictability.  Unpredictability is a natural component of living and studying abroad. It doesn’t really matter which culture you’re traveling to, you can expect that where language barriers and cultural differences exist – certain things are going to surprise you. The reality is that things change frequently. In some cultures these unexpected changes seem more common than in others, but regardless of where you’re traveling to you can expect change. Expecting change is actually the alternative.
    • The alternative to frustration by unpredictability is to simply expect unpredictability. The frustration isn’t really because plans change, the frustration is that you expected a certain scenario to be “x” and it turned out to be “z”. If you expect that scenario to be “?”; then every day you’re given multiple surprises!

Obstacle #3: Facebook

Social Media

No, I’m not kidding; I’m 100% serious. It’s not just Facebook, social media in general is a constant temptation. Countless studies show how social media cuts into your work time and your study time – so this is a documented fact. You probably already know what I’m going to say about this, but I have to say it anyway.

Basically here’s the message: while you’re on immersion, never let social media activity take place of having real interactions with people face to face in your midst. It sounds so obvious, but many students and clients of ours have trouble drawing this line and keeping social network activity to times that don’t threaten real interactions. The basic rule of thumb here is to never allow Facebook or any other social media to take priority over authentic interactions in Spanish while you’re on immersion.

    • Alternatives? Yes of course. Keep your social networking to times when you’re alone and it’s not stealing you away from an interaction with your host family, other peers on the program, community members, etc.

Obstacle #4: Friends

Friends on Spanish immersionI guess friends aren’t really an obstacle, but they are a potential distraction. Many students go abroad with a group of friends (or travel in a group and make fast friends) and naturally default to speaking English with each other. My first time studying abroad was when I was in undergraduate, and I remember that there was a group of my classmates that always went out to the clubs in the evenings and went on weekend trips together. There was nobody “leading” them and encouraging them to speak Spanish, so they naturally defaulted to English with each other. I had to make the conscious decision to spend that time with my host family and make friends with some locals because I really wanted to improve my Spanish.

Hanging out with English speakers while traveling abroad is a real and present danger to your language growth because it feels so natural to just speak English with each other. But please, don’t fall into the trap; at the end of your program you’ll look back and realize that you spent thousands of dollars to go abroad and speak English with your buddies. What a regret! So how do you avoid speaking English if you’re forced to be with other English speakers?

    • Is there an alternative? Absolutely there is! This one simple solution will go a long way in keeping you from speaking English and it will actually encourage your friends to speak Spanish as well. Doing this one thing will help you stay in Spanish and will set a standard for speaking Spanish among your peers. It’s simple, commit to starting in Spanish 100% of the time. If you start in English, it’s nearly impossible to switch into Spanish. On the contrary, if you start in Spanish, people will follow suit and the people who want to speak Spanish will gravitate toward you while those that don’t will naturally create distance between you and them. That’s what you want, right? You want people around you with your same goals of speaking Spanish. You definitely don’t want to be the chump who travels thousands of miles to speak English, so start in Spanish 100% of the time and watch how you naturally surround yourself with others that share your language goals!

Spanish immersion is definitely the best way to learn Spanish, but as you can see it’s not automatic. While you’re traveling abroad you’ll face several obstacles that threaten to thwart your language development. The first step in maneuvering around these obstacles is knowing what they are. Now that you know what some of these obstacles are, be intentional to avoid them! Some of them take discipline to avoid, others take courage, and still others require flexibility; but they all require intentionality. Although it’s a challenge, it’s worth the effort. Most people will only have the chance to do a Spanish immersion program once in their lifetime (if at all) – so do it right the next chance you get!

If you’re looking for a Spanish immersion program that is designed to maximize your language learning, take a look at our Spanish immersion programs in Costa Rica – we’d love to have you join us some time!

4 Obstacles to Exponential Language Growth on Spanish immersion

97 thoughts on “4 Obstacles to Exponential Language Growth on Spanish Immersion”

  1. Carson Irene Hicks

    I think I will struggle most with #4. As someone who loves social interaction and making new friends, it might be hard for me to speak in only Spanish to my peers who speak English too.

  2. Shelly Hendricks

    Fear of how I’m being perceived or other’s expectations of me as I communicate will probably be my #1 struggle. I very much desire to improve my Spanish language ability but when I say I teach Spanish there tends to be a high level of expectation that goes with it leaving me feeling like I need to prove myself, which is never a great place to start. It will be good to be with others who are in similar places and also be reminded what it feels like to be the student.

  3. These are good points! As someone who has lived in Spanish speaking countries I have experienced the fear and frustration. I think I am more comfortable now w/ myself and my Spanish ability, so i am not worried about that. I am not currently on any social media, and as a teacher and mom of teens, I deal w/ this distraction in my students and children daily! The friends issue is something to keep in mind as we get to know one another.

  4. As someone who completely changed careers in the last year and went from 25 years as an expert in something to 1 year as a newbie, I appreciated the discussion around the frustration of not getting our communication perfect or not being able to express our needs clearly. I KNOW English but I want to learn Spanish so, as Ms Frizzle from the Magic School Bus says, I need to take chances, make mistakes and get messy!

  5. Claire Gamache

    The biggest obstacle is definitely yourself, anticipating these struggles with definitely make it easier to cope. Thanks!

  6. I think its going to be important for me to get over the fear of speaking because I feel like I will struggle with this if I don’t know how to say something. But I just have to remember the people here want me to learn so there is no reason to not try.

  7. I loved this article! Going into this trip, I certainly have a high level of fear of not being able to do basic tasks well or not being able to communicate simple thoughts. I really liked what you said about it being much better to practice communicating while on immersion than to “practice” with sick patients. I would much rather trip up in a setting where I am expected to make those mistakes than in a setting where I am the professional.

  8. Andrew Kingston

    Recuerdo mi tiempo en Espana. Vivia ahi por diez meses. Y el poco tiempo que tenabamos con otras familias fueron dias que podiabamos hablar en Inglais. Pero con las tres semanas que vienen, voy a tener mucho menos tiempo. Intentare hablar tanto que puedo en Espanol.

  9. I’m really looking forward to jumping in and enjoying my time! These obstacles are also very good to know and keep in mind. We got this!

  10. Lauren Ridgway

    I am ready to speak in spanish and get to learn more about the Costa Rican culture, it will be tough, but worth it!

  11. Joseph Anthony Gilardi

    Fear and Frustration are two personal struggles of mine but ¨shift your communication goals from perfect messaging to meaningful communication.¨ really stood out to me and I think it will be a helpful mindset while I am in immersion.

    1. Jeanette Weiser

      I was recently on a medical mission project in Chiapas, and was corrected on my questioning use of es and esta. Simple stuff, but being corrected helped.

      Esta consada – I’m tired now. It will change.
      Es consada – I shall forever be tired. It is who I am.

      It wasn’t exactly estoy consada for which I was corrected, but I use it for an example when teaching, although I do have colleagues that may qualify as forever tired 🤣

      I identify with the striving to be most correct at all times. I see that in myself as an adult learning. There is much to be learned by being wrong now and then.

  12. Timidity due to fear of failure or sounding dumb is real. I am listening to podcasts and reading my text from undergrad to help encourage me to start with Spanish first.

  13. Tom Postlewaite

    Un articulo mu importante! gracias. Aquí en Santa Cruz, tengo amigos que hablan español. Ellos me dicen, “Tom, habla en español y hace errores porque así aprenderás el idioma”. When I travel, I will ask what in my English would be silly. It’s the “silly” questions that help me to learn . For example, I would walk into a store to ask where the ice cream shop is even if I know it’s just down the street. Por ejemplo, “Hola, Por favor, podria ayudarme encountrar la heladaria? Now, I have to listen to a different person and their accent.

  14. Most of us have a fear of speaking another language. I am no exception. However, I do commit to speaking Spanish only while in country(at least trying). I am sure it will be difficult at times but learning always forces us out of our comfort zone. Hasta entonces. Siempre sonriendo:) Paula Deanda

  15. This article really resonates with me as a language teacher! Some French students at my school are about to do an immersion trip to France and I am reminding them that simply spending 10 days in France will not magically by default noticeably improve their French. I tell them they have to make the effort to speak French with each other (some sort of language pledge would be awesome), and they should seek out the opportunities to speak French with local folks.

    I am not naturally the chattiest person (as I tend to go back and forth between my introverted and extroverted selves), but I know my goal is to speak as much Spanish as I can on this trip. We also often tell our students to not be scared to make errors, and this will be a test of whether I can apply that suggestion myself. 🙂

  16. Deborah Sanchez

    All of these are excellent reminders. I’m less worried about my fear about what people think of my Spanish than my daughter’s. I know this is an obstacle for her, and I don’t know how to help her beyond telling her not to care what other people think and that making errors is a precursor to learning.

  17. When I studied abroad in undergrad, my host mom would comment on how the progress I had made in my Spanish would regress every time I got home from a weekend trip with my friends because we spoke English the whole time. I will definitely make a conscious effort not to repeat the same thing for this trip!

  18. Sharise Cunningham

    Fear is (was) my biggest roadblock, not necessarily fear of sounding foolish, but just of speaking to a stranger. I used to be shy and am an introvert so approaching someone in English was difficult for me. However, after living abroad for a few years, I often found myself in situations where I HAD to ask directions or about food, etc. So the next issue was understanding the answer ;-/ Since returning to the USA, I noticed that fear has pretty much gone because I’m thrilled to be able to understand the answer immediately!

  19. I definitely have a lot of fear of being misunderstood. It has sometimes kept me from speaking Spanish to my Spanish-speaking patients even when I know how to say the gist of what I want to say without an interpreter. I also get worried that I won’t understand the response even if I can get through what I want to say. I’m glad to have the chance to realize and ponder these obstacles before traveling so hopefully I can catch myself in the moment and make different choices while abroad.

  20. I’m anticipating all of the obstacles and hoping for a sense of humor to get me through them. I’m in contact with a friend who agreed to speak only Spanish with me. It has been hilarious and frustrating at times, but we keep at it!


    I think I will be frustrated when things do not go as planned, so probably #2 and #4 of the “frustration” obstacle. I just returned from a week-long trip for a family wedding and had some things go wrong, and that was in English! I am using it as a reminder to be vigilant about being patient.

  22. Juliet Franklin

    I think number 1 will be my biggest frustration. I am nervous about not being able to say the simplest things to my peers, teachers, and host family.

  23. Good Tips- from previous immersion experiences I’ve learned it is very easy to revert to gestures and minimal language use to get by. It takes effort to overcome these tendencies.

  24. Since we’ll need to actively commit to learning Spanish in order to, well, learn Spanish, I think the hardest thing for me will be not speaking in English with other program participants.

  25. audrey.blanchard

    I think I’ll struggle with #2 and #4 the most because I haven’t taken a Spanish class in a while, so I’m worried I’ll resort to English.

  26. Maggie Blanchard

    I think I will struggle most with #4 because I don’t know very much Spanish and I am going with my sister so I’m worried I will end up just speaking English with her most of the time.

  27. The fatigue of living in another language is going to be rough, but it is what my students face at school every day, and I am looking forward understanding better what they’re going through.

    Start with spanish I can do, but I am worried about frustration when I can’t understand even after slowing down or repeating themselves.

  28. I think it will be difficult to keep speaking Spanish all the time. It will be especially difficult to talk about things that don’t usually come up in my office. I am used to speaking Spanish in medical encounters but I think it will be difficult to have everyday conversations with vocabulary that I don’t usually use and follow group conversations. The urge to speak in your native language is powerful and I know we will be tempted especially when we are tired. Still I am looking forward to trying.

  29. caitlin.banks

    I think what would be most difficult for me when on my immersion trip, is the fear of being misunderstood, and frustration because I cannot get my point across.

  30. Ashley Thomas

    I think obstacles 1 and 2 will be the hardest for me to deal with. I often get frustrated with myself for having fear/allowing the thought of being embarrassed to hold me back. I know on this trip there is really no way I can get around this fear and once I face it the feeling of frustration may dwindle a bit.

  31. Mary Tommie Williams

    I am sure I will struggle somewhat with 1 and 2, but once I get a couple of “embarrassing” situations behind me, I’ll be okay. It will be a humbling experience, for sure.

  32. I really appreciate all of the obstacles and alternatives discussed in this post as it is helpful to think through these possible obstacles. I think the fear of being misunderstood stood out most to me as I think it is hard to accept things will sound differently than we hope. It is so nice though that this is a program where our goal is to learn Spanish and that we can learn through our mistakes.

  33. I think I may struggle with obstacles 1 and 2 the most. I often get frustrated with myself if I’m unable to convey my opinions or ideas, especially when speaking Spanish. Once I get over this roadblock, I’ll happily attempt using Spanish at any point in time, without fear of getting a few words wrong or mixing up verbs.

  34. Nathan Batayte

    I think that obstacles #1,2, & 3 will be things that I will struggle with at first, but I feel that after some time I will be able to overcome it.

  35. Anxiety will be my biggest obstacle because I am a very anxious kid. I hope that I can let go and just try and enjoy the trip. 🙂

  36. Izzy Gottlieb

    Fear and anxiety are going to be the biggest obstacles for me. This blog helped me feel a bit better(even though I know the anxiety will be back soon).

  37. Marissa Werchan

    Fear will be my biggest obstacle. I did not realize how much of a perfectionist I was until I started to learn another language. I found myself embarrassed whenever I would make a mistake, and then immediately go back into English just so I could prove I knew what I was talking about. However, I realize that I make mistakes in English all the time too! And I do not let those bother me as much as my mistakes in Spanish do. That’s why I am glad I have the opportunity to surround myself with people who can and will correct me, so I can continue to learn.

  38. Bridgette Strange

    Numbers 1 and 3 will not be a problem for me because I am not afraid of putting myself out there to learn and I purposely do not let electronics/social media get in the way of human interaction. I already have rules in place for both myself and my family and thankfully we all prefer each other’s company over phones, tv, social media and/or electronics.
    Numbers 2 is really important to me because I pride myself on speaking proficiently. I want to speak as perfectly in Spanish as I do in English, but I haven’t the complete skills, yet, to do this and it is irritating. However, before I let it interfere with my learning, I use circumlocution to help myself and others I’m speaking with to decode and understand my message.
    Number 4 is probably the worst obstacle I have encountered and the hardest to overcome. I have traveled abroad before and no one was interested in speaking Spanish unless it was necessary and everyone defaulted to English even if it was their second language. I look forward to this program offering much more consistent practice.

  39. Kathleen VanEepoel

    I’m not afraid (timid) to practice my Spanish, much to my children’s dismay! I practice the art of the building block strategy: I use my vocabulary and don’t worry about trying to conjugate the verbs if it doesn’t come to me immediately. I hope that my listener can then “arrange” the building blocks to be able to comprehend me. Works pretty well, but am ready to be more disciplined and do more of the work myself!

  40. Lucas Armendariz

    I’m guessing that my obstacles are gonna be #4 because I don’t get embarrassed when I speak in spanish because i’m pretty confident in my skill to speak spanish but because my default language is english i feel it will be hard to make the transition from english to full spanish.

  41. I know from past immersion programs that I struggled with fear of saying something incorrectly and being corrected on it. I’m getting better at taking criticism, but I still get scared speaking in front of my students. For my social media, I have already changed my phone settings to Spanish, which will hopefully help. The last thing is friends. At the beginning of the program, we did really well saying in Spanish, but as we started to get more people who didn’t speak as much Spanish, it was easier to revert to English. I’m going to try my best to avoid talking in Spanish. I think one thing that will help is I’m not planning on going on the weekend excursions (it could change) since I want to spend as much time with my host family as possible.

  42. These are perfect. I can definitely see that I will struggle with #1 and #2, and maybe even a little with #4. I think when my brain is maxed out from learning Spanish, it will be challenging not to causally slip into speaking English as a way to give myself a break. But now that I am aware of this, I will push myself to continue on my fluency quest!

  43. Sabrina Sorensen

    I believe I am going to have the most trouble wit obstacles 1 & 2. I can be very self conscious and impatient at times. I think I just need to take a deep breath and remember why I am doing this immersion experience.

  44. Benjamin Kingston

    My biggest issue will probably be frustrations from differences and inability to say something perfectly. I am confident that I will be able to overcome these frustrations and have a fantastic experience

  45. Fear of sounding stupid is definitely a challenge. I hope that pledging to only speak Spanish or at least start in Spainsh will help. This will be my number one challenge when I get home as well!

  46. Brittan Sutphin

    This article perfectly summed up my worries that I expressed in the first couple of modules. I am worried about being misunderstood by my host family and the temptation to talk to my medical school friends in english. My solution is to care less about being misunderstood and to at least start 100% of my conversations in spanish.

  47. I think fear would be my biggest obstacle. I very timid when it comes to speaking in Spanish so I don’t usually approach people and want to immediately revert back to English.

  48. I have lived before with people that speak Spanish, and tried to practice with them, but it’s so tempting to revert to English. My main goal for the trip is to always start in Spanish and to force myself to do as much as I can in Spanish before relying on English.

  49. I think frustration will be my biggest challenge because I always want to do things well and i’m not able I might gt frustrated.

  50. I think my biggest struggle will be to understand everything that the native spanish speakers say since they will most likely know a lot more of the language than i do.

  51. I think I will be timid at first because of how different everything will be. But, I want to try to speak in Spanish as much as possible, even with my friends so I can maximize the opportunity I have to grow in the language.

  52. Molly Pennisi

    I know my Spanish vocab is much smaller compared to my English which could provide some frustration for me. I fear people judging me but I know I will have to keep reminding myself just to go for it because I won’t see any of these people again 🙂

  53. i think that my biggest struggle will be 1 and 2. i’m someone who likes to get everything correct on the first try. i realized that this might hold me back in some situations (fear). i’m also scared that being afraid to say something could cause me to get frustrated. 3 won’t be a problem for me. i could live without my phone completely. i don’t like to text a lot, facetime a lot, go on instagram a lot, etc. i don’t have snapchat, which is also another reason why i could live without my phone.

  54. Vivian Shillingsburg

    I think that I and 2 would be my biggest obstacles. I tend to get nervous when trying new things, like anyone else would, but once I start to get the hang of it I will be less nervous. I also am a little bit of a perfectionist so if I get something wrong I will probably get frustrated. 3 might be a little bit of an issue but friends will help more than hurt.

  55. Gabriella Ercolino

    I do have the fear of not being understood or of making mistakes in my grammar. I know that it will be frustrating at times because I don’t have the same Spanish vocabulary that I do in English but since I have accepted that I’m going to make many mistakes and I won’t sound perfect, I know that I can overcome those obstacles.

  56. Madeline Sexton

    I think fear and frustration will be my biggest struggles. I sometimes get frustrated when I cannot say something correctly or I have a fear of saying a more complex sentence will hold me back, but I will learn to take risks and to be patient with my Spanish.

  57. I think my biggest obstacle will be fear in regards to how I sound speaking Spanish especially since it’s not something I use as often as I used to.

  58. Fear and frustration will be the biggest obstacles for me. I am less fearful of taking risks when I am in small groups or one-on-one. I tend to shut down a bit more when there are others around because I tend to compare myself to those who are more skilled than me: Look at how well they are communicating, look how brave they are…. I need to remember that this is about my growth and I will compare myself to pre-trip Nina. I can become impatient with myself which leads to frustration. Deep breaths and realistic attainable goals. I am a beginner but hope to leave a more advanced beginner.

  59. Louisa Barrett

    I think that my biggest obstacles will be 1 and 2 because I am not completely confident in myself and will probably get frustrated if I say something wrong or I am misunderstood.

  60. Catherine Cobb

    I think my biggest challenge will probably be 1 and 2 because I can get fear easily of new things and I also easily get frustrated when I can get something very quickly. I am definitely going to do my best to use the Spanish language at all times and understand there are people nearby, as well as have some patience with my self.

  61. Catherine Cobb

    I think my biggest challenge will probably be 1 and 2 because I can get fear easily of new things and I also easily get frustrated when I can get something very quickly. I am definitely going to do my best to use the Spanish language at all times and understand there are people nearby, as well as have osme patience with my self.

  62. carleenobrien

    Fear is definitely my biggest obstacle, but I think trying to always start in Spanish while on immersion is great advice and I will definitely try to do that.

  63. Carly Woolman

    I think not being able to communicate effectively (#1) is the most difficult for me. It isn’t always that I’m trying to find the perfect word or phrasing, but that I can’t effectively express the emotion or significance like I would in English. For example, if I’m trying to make or reply with something humorous, but cannot figure out how to do so.

  64. I anticipate a challenge with fear and frustration and have a goal to speak Spanish continuously throughout the trip.

  65. Liam Peeples

    My biggest obstacle is frustrated. When something is difficult, I sometimes get angry, but I usually don’t give up–rather find alternate routes.

  66. I think the hardest obstacle will be to keep speaking Spanish 100% of the time I will be in the country, but also I sincerely hope to keep practicing my language skills even after I return to the US

  67. The recommendation that we use the Spanish we know, even if it isn’t perfect, is the best advice for me.

  68. I will probably have difficulties with 1, 2 and possibly 4, but not 3. I’m not that attached to technology.

  69. I think my biggest obstacle will be wanting to take a break and talk to people I have met on the trip in English rather than continuing practicing my Spanish with locals, my host family, or with other educators I have met.

  70. Fear will be my biggest obstacle. This is what is keeping me from using the Spanish I already know in the clinic.

  71. I definitely will struggle with 1 and 2. I am currently taking Spanish lessons with a tutor and I already struggle with both of these things with her.

  72. Know my biggest struggle will be the frustration of knowing what I would like to say but having difficulty with all of the words needed

  73. I struggle with 1 &2. Will not miss social media. 4 will be a challenge for both Mike, my husband and me, “immersing together” and are very aware we must take the pledge to to speak Spanish only..

    Have taken Spanish classes in the past (last in 2010), followed by not up SPEAKING it (issue 1&2), and am excited about taking this leap!

  74. I anticipate to struggle with 1 and 2. I’m excited to learn more !I don’t have any social media so 3 won’t be a problem.

  75. I anticipate a bit of a struggle with 3 of the 4 of these obstacles during my upcoming trip. It will be hardest to maintain Spanish first with my partner who is coming along, but we are both committed!

  76. Pingback: Maximizing your Trip! | Common Ground International Language Services

  77. Pingback: 10 Bulletproof tips to maximize language growth on any travel...

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