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A Message from Mexico

By Barbara Gastel | July 9, 2008  | None

Greetings from Mexico! This time, I am away to learn, not to teach.

For many years, I have wanted to study Spanish. This language has become increasingly important in the United States. Also, I am working more and more with people in other countries who are native speakers of Spanish.

“How can I best start learning Spanish?” I asked a colleague whose job is to facilitate collaboration with Spanish-speaking countries. He suggested an “immersion approach”: spending at least 2 weeks in Mexico taking classes in Spanish and living in a Mexican home.

So, I am now spending 2 weeks in Mexico. I am taking 5 hours of Spanish classes per day. And I am staying in the home of a Mexican woman who does not speak English.

Although I wish I could learn faster, I have learned a lot since arriving about 10 days ago. I think I will have a good foundation to build on. And the experience has helped motivate me to continue learning Spanish.

Also, I appreciate the chance to “be on the other side”. I often teach English-language scientific writing to non-native speakers of English. Also, I have placed many visiting scholars in American host households. I have always tried to understand what the students and scholars were experiencing. However, these weeks studying and living in Mexico are giving me new perspective.

I hope that what I have been learning and gaining will help me in my work, including my work through AuthorAID. So again, greetings from Mexico!

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