One question that usually comes up when I’m talking to people about my trip is this: “How fluent are you in Spanish?” And honestly, I think that’s a pretty hard question to answer. I’ve been taking Spanish since seventh grade (I think that’s about eight years), so I’m definitely not a beginner. On the other hand, I’m not a native speaker, either. I guess it’s just really hard for me to tell exactly how good my Spanish is. It’s one thing to get a good grade in a Spanish class full of native speakers of English, and it’s another thing to be able to live and communicate well in another language and culture.
But am I nervous about having to communicate entirely in another language all the time? Absolutely not. Any time I’ve done any cross-cultural travel in the past (my family went to Hungary twice for mission trips, and I also went to Costa Rica for a week in high school), I have felt very comfortable adjusting and learning to communicate in a new setting. Languages come easily to me, and it wasn’t too difficult for me to pick up new words and phrases. What’s amazing to me is that this natural inclination towards languages isn’t a result of anything I’ve done – for some reason God made my brain so that languages just make sense! I don’t know how all that works, but I do know that I’m really thankful that the Lord has gifted me in this way. In general, I love learning languages, and I’d love to know several of them someday. Spanish is just the first one in this process.
So, I’m not sure exactly how fluent I am in Spanish or how you can even measure that, but I do know that I can be confident in the language skills I already have and eager to learn anything new I encounter!