Global Engagement Day: Spanish Survival Skills

Today was the highlight of the semester for GEFs (Global Engagement Fellows) on the OU campus: Global Engagement Day. All of us gathered to attend events organized and hosted by our peers - everything from advice for applying to Fulbright to student stories from studying abroad.

I want to focus on an event I attended - Survival Spanish Skills. You may ask why a native Spanish speaker chose to attend this event; well, aside from a two-week trip in 2016, I haven't been immersed in Spanish culture much if ever in my life. My language learning came from my father, and constant practice speaking with him has kept me in touch with those skills. However, there are many cultural nuances and details I get rusty with - or never learn - by living in the United States and not Spain.

Although the focus of the event was probably too basic for me to learn anything, I could see how it was extremely helpful as a quick guide. What you could learn from that 30-minute lesson (who-what-when-where-why, cognates, and general "please" and "thank" you type phrases) would be enough to get you through a short trip to Spain intact.

But I was also reminded that there is always something new to learn, whether you've been speaking Spanish for 2 years or 20 years. Today, I learned that to say "How are you" in Argentina, you use the word "vos" instead of "tú" to mean the informal singular "you."

Above all, it was a good refresher and a chance to meet some new friends.

Elena

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