It would be fair to say that Spanish and I haven’t always seen eye to eye. Unlike German, Spanish never seemed to click for me in the same way. In some ways I think it’s down to the pressure I put on myself to learn the language.
Perhaps it’s best to go back a little. I started learning German at school. I was never the best pupil but I was okay. Over the summer before I started my GCSE’s I found out about a German band and started listening to them . The rest, as they say, is history.
Flash forward 7 years and I was starting university, studying German and Spanish. As I mentioned above, my Spanish suffered because I put so much pressure on it from the very beginning. Although they’re so different linguistically, I was determined that Spanish would ‘click’ like German had. Unfortunately, it never did. I struggled to understand the words and grammar rules, and I don’t think that the separated, accelerated learning style suited me.
After two years I decided to cut my losses and focus on getting the best grade possible in my degree. I transferred to Translation Studies and never looked back.
During my final year of university, I volunteered in my former secondary school, working in the languages department. A lot of the classes I sat in were basic, entry level Spanish. Going back to basics really helped me – the pace was much slower and the teaching style more familiar. I was, however, surprised at how much I’d learnt in the two years at university.
After graduating, I hoped that at some point I could take a GCSE in Spanish. At my current job, working in a school, this became a possibility. I enrolled as a private candidate in January and will be sitting the exams in May.
At first I thought that Spanish and I would never work well together. Sometimes languages suit some people than others. I guessed that Germanic languages were more my style. Now I’ve learned the importance of language learning styles and methods.
The accelerated route was great for fast learning but I couldn’t maintain it – the school route is a little repetitive but more thorough if not always practical.
Over the last year I’ve learnt a lot of Spanish. But most importantly I’ve learnt that perseverance is key.