En Español: Hispanic Soc’s role in improving your oral exam grades

A student of Spanish offers insight into the importance of practicing a language to balance the never-ending grammar notations

When I first saw DU Hispanic Society’s event, “Desayuno and Speed Friending” I was allured into attending, for the most part, out of a sense of duty. I study Spanish as part of my degree, and therefore feel somewhat obliged to attend events that relate to my course (That and the fact that the promise of free food isn’t one that I would usually turn down).

I made my way on Tuesday morning, along with three friends also studying Spanish, to the Eliz Room in House Six where we were all warmly greeted by other members of the society with a welcoming “buenos dias” and a cup of indulgent colacao. The event attracted only an intimate number of participants, but admittedly, this suited the style of the event quite nicely as each person was afforded a greater amount of time to practice chatting in Spanish, and it was easier for newcomers to the society events to get to meet new people.

After waiting a few minutes, the decision was made unanimously that there weren’t quite enough people present for “speed friending” to successfully work, therefore in its place we all gathered around a table and undertook a relaxed and informal game of 21 (or in Spanish, veintiuno) in which each person was given a slip of paper on which was written the name of a well-known Spaniard, ranging from Juan Carlos, to Shakira, to place on their forehead. We then each took turns trying to guess (en español) the identity we had been assigned. What followed was a lighthearted and hilarious half hour of jumbled-up Spanish discourse, accompanied by chocolate magdaleñas, all with Enrique Iglesias playing in the background.

Though a small and informal event, I found the morning thoroughly enjoyable and particularly admired the fact that both students with a high standard of spoken Spanish, as well as those with only “unos palabras” could participate. From my point of view, and I’m sure all language students will agree, when you’re studying a language in College, you immediately find yourself bombarded and overwhelmed by complicated grammar classes and the frightening prospect of oral examinations luring ahead of you.

Often, the true essence and culture of the language gets lost behind the stress of the technicalities. This event taught me the importance  of stepping away every now and then from the academic side of a language, focusing instead on embracing the cultural aspects it has to offer. Informally chatting with friends in Spanish is, in my view, by far the best and most enjoyable, means by which to do this.