Sofie is a second-year student doing Pathway to Nursing. She is from Tjongsfjord, Norway, a village in the fjords, to where she has returned to until the lockout finishes. Last year, all her classes where in English, while courses in the second year are taught in Spanish – quite a challenge. We have asked her about all these changes, what she does to practise Spanish at home (she is fluent, but still gets a bit nervous sometimes) and much more.
How would you describe this return to your “new old life”?
I like it, I am happy to be home, but I do miss some things about Valencia. I try to make good use of my time. I work at an old people’s home some days, and I like being around them. There are no cases of COVID-19 on my island, but I’m still afraid I could transmit it, so I still follow all the safety measures.
How are you coping with this new online class format?
Very well, actually. I have no problems with studying on my own and I enjoy organizing my own time. The lecturers are making a great effort to maintain the quality of the classes and make sure we have all that we need.
Do you usually dress up for virtual classes or do you prefer to wear comfortable clothes?
Comfortable, definitely. Even pyjamas, most of the time – I love them, what can I say! I don’t have the feeling that I need to change clothes to “get in the mood”. I just fix my hair a little and that’s it!
What helped you learn Spanish so quickly and what do you do to keep improving?
The Spanish course for Pathway that I took last year was what helped me most. I still attend Spanish classes this year, which is a way to keep it up. Thirdly, I’ve tried to make some Spanish friends in class, and this is the key to learn day-to-day expressions. I also try to watch movies and listen to music in Spanish. Oh, and the summer course I took upon arriving to Spain, before my first year.
What do you do to stay in touch with your classmates?
I write them messages all the time – sometimes they even say I’m a pain. The fact that now classes are in Spanish means that I have to speak more and that makes it easier in the end for me to communicate with Spanish people. However, I have seen international students who did not take Spanish seriously who are now struggling with other subjects.
Which kind of music do you usually listen to?
Reggaeton, salsa, bachata, rock, but I always do it in Spanish (my favourite bands are Estopa, La Fuga, Benito Kamelas, etc.). As for Spanish TV series, I would recommend Elite, Las chicas del cable (Cable Girls) or La casa de papel (Money Heist). When it comes to American or Norwegian movies and series, I usually watch them in the original language and put on Spanish subtitles.
Do have any other tip to share with your fellow students?
Just speak whenever you have a chance. When I first started, I was afraid of making mistakes; I have always been such a perfectionist. What we don’t realize is that Spanish people are always willing to help, and it’s OK to make mistakes. In addition, whenever I hear or read a new word, I add it to the vocabulary list I keep on my phone. And then I look at that before I go to sleep.
Has anything funny happened to you speaking Spanish?
Not long ago, at a coffee shop here, I wanted to order a coffee and my words came out in Spanish. Oh, and just last week… I dreamt in Spanish for the first time!
That really shows you must be doing very well!