I have been extremely nervous the last few weeks. I’m applying for a fantastic opportunity for after I get back from Spain next year that requires “proficient” Spanish, as verified by a university faculty member.
I didn’t “study” Spanish in college in the traditional sense of the word. I didn’t major or minor in it. I took enough Spanish to meet the foreign language requirement, which was up to the fourth quarter, and which I finished in 2007. This means that since then, any practice and improvement in my Spanish has been largely unstructured, informal, and has inched along at the pace of a snail.
I’ve had guys in bars tell me my Spanish is fluent. I’ve had employees of my internet company’s technical department give up all hope talking to me and tell me I’ll have to call back when someone who speaks English is there. But someone like a professor who will actually analyze my speaking, writing, listening, and reading skills? Haven’t talked to one of those in over four years.
Neither of the Spanish professors I had in college are there anymore, so I asked the coordinator of the Spanish language program to evaluate me. Would she have an accent that’s difficult for me to understand? Would she be disappointed when I struggle with the imperfect subjunctive? Would she use idioms I haven’t learned? Would she determine that my Spanish falls under the important title of “proficient”?
Yes, yes, yes. It went so well. I was nervous about being out of practice the last few months, but it felt so good to just sit and have a conversation in Spanish. She asked me what I do in Spain and what I want to do in the future. I asked her where she’s from and how long she’s been in the U.S. We chatted, I wrote up a quick little paper so she could evaluate my writing. She said that my Spanish is absolutely proficient.
I’ve been quite the happy camper ever since.