hola amigos

The skill I would like to develop as part of my EC&I 831 Learning Project is learning Spanish. I have been interested in taking up Spanish since last summer, when my sister and I visited my aunt and uncle at their vacation home in Costa Rica for 2 weeks.

My sister and I enjoying the stunning view at Vista de Olas in Mal País, Costa Rica.

Being busy with pursuing my Master’s, though, I put this desire on the back burner. It would seem that Spanish really did intrigue me though, as I have taken two other trips to Spanish-speaking countries since (Ecuador/the Galapagos and Mexico). Prior to starting this class, I had a solid plan to start learning Spanish this fall (after my Master’s degree was complete and I would have some more free time on my hands). I was so excited to see that the Learning Project was an option to pursue for this course, so I can dive in to some Spanish learning early.

Where I’m At Right Now:

Currently, I can say some basic words in Spanish that I picked up during my 3 trips in Spanish-speaking countries. This is mostly limited to names of foods (piña, pollo, queso, hamburguesa, naranja, etc.), basic words you’d see on road or shop signs (calle, salida, cerrada, zona escolar, baño, etc.), and some random words (gato, poquito, casa, etc.). Basically, I am starting out as a total beginner.

How I Plan to Develop This Skill:

I have a few ideas already of online-based Spanish learning tools that I would like to try out. Since returning from Costa Rica last summer, my sister has been learning Spanish on Duolingo, so I plan to give that a try. On my Mexico trip, I was talking to a member of my tour group who was an intermediate Spanish speaker, and he recommended Lingoda to me. I have done a bit of research into it, and think I will do a 7 day free trial of it and then jump in fully this fall with one of their 2 month “Sprints.” I’ve also heard that there are some helpful YouTube channels that teach basic Spanish skills, so I plan to do a bit of hunting around on that platform as well. I am a lurker on TikTok (I watch content periodically but don’t produce anything myself), and would be open to checking out Spanish content there as well. I am open to suggestions – if anyone knows of a great language-learning tool, please let me know!

Where I’d Like to Be in 6 Weeks:

At the outset of this project, I’d like to say I accomplished a few things:

  • tried out a variety of online language-learning tools
  • expanded my basic vocabulary to include some more categories of items beyond food and commonly-seen words
  • am able to put multiple words together into a sentence
  • explored various pillars of language – grammar, speaking, writing, listening
  • jump-started my Spanish learning journey so I can visit another Spanish-speaking country in the future and feel more confident in using this language

I look forward to getting this journey started and seeing how I progress over the next few weeks! I can’t wait to see what projects everyone else in the class is going to explore as well. As a teacher, I value lifelong learning and am ready to push myself to develop a new skill.

Do you speak more than one language?
How did you learn your additional language(s)?
Do you have any tips for me as I embark on this language-learning adventure?

Until next time,



5 thoughts on “hola amigos

  1. Hi Kara! I am so excited that you are taking on Spanish! I took Spanish all throughout high school and loved learning the language. Unfortunately, I lost nearly all of the language that I did learn, other than a few common phrases and some word recognition. Without continued practice and exposure, it was amazing how quickly I forgot about the learning that I developed. Now, my sister in law is from Peru and her first langauge is Spanish, and my niece and nephew are bilingual in both Spanish and English, so those Spanish skills would really come in handy! I look forward to following your journey and hopefully picking up a few more tips on the language from you!

    • That’s so awesome that you have bilingual people in your family! I would love to have a close friend or family member who spoke Spanish that I could practice talking back and forth with – I think that’s truly the best way to go (besides total immersion, which would be an amazing experience, too).

  2. Hi Kara! I am excited to follow you along your journey of learning Spanish. As a traveler, I agree that being able to speak the language of the country you are visiting is important. I wish you all the best on this journey and hope that you are able to put your new language skills to use in the near future on a new and exciting holiday.

    • Thanks Andrea! I honestly went full-bore in week 1, so the hardest part right now is figuring out what to do next to stay at the same level of intensity for the duration of the class. Maybe I peaked too soon!

      • Kara, I hear what you are saying. I already had this sewing project in mind prior to this class. I have made changes to it so that I am teaching myself new skills but feel I might have gotten ahead of myself in a few ways and that I need to slow down and enjoy the journey and remember the importance of documentation along the way.

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