By Cate Fox (Communications Coordinator 23’)
This year, the Spanish IV students began to immerse themselves in real Spanish culture and language. Each student is paired with another student, usually from Spain, and each month they get together via Google Meet to have a conversation. During these meetings, students and their pen pals have conversations in either English or Spanish and are supposed to alternate after every meeting.
Megan Gilchrist (23’), who is currently in Spanish IV, describes how “these conversations are designed to help us improve our dialogue and be able to comprehend English and Spanish better when speaking to a person who is fluent in that language."
By speaking to a native Spanish speaker, FCS students are able to see how Spanish is actually spoken in its native place. This also gives students the opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to a real conversation, helping them to further develop their Spanish literacy skills.
Megan then explained how each month she and her pen pal meet through video call and “record [their] conversations...on topic[s] given by [their] teachers.” Students are given different topics each month to discuss with their pen pal. Melania Diah (23’) adds on to this by explaining some of the topics/questions she and her pen pal talked about: “Where are you from? What's your favorite food? What are your favorite activities?” Although Melania hasn’t really started to speak Spanish to her pen pal yet, the little that her pen pal has spoken to her is much more advanced than what she knows. She remarks on how well her pen pal’s English is by saying that “[she} would have thought that they were raised in America.” Sarah Leonard (23’) agrees by saying, “It’s definitely hard to talk in Spanish with a native speaker, especially because my partner speaks very quickly and she’s a lot better at speaking English than I am at Spanish.” Even though Sarah found it difficult to communicate in Spanish to her partner, it actually turned out to be a little easier than she had expected. Overall, having a Spanish pen pal is a great way to not only improve your Spanish speaking skills, but also a way to talk and get to know someone new.