Learning Spanish in Mexico

GoNOMAD writer Emily Morse only spent one week in an intensive Spanish program in Cuernavaca, Mexico, but it was enough time to create amazing memories and to motivate her to become fluent in the language. Read about her journey in the article Cuernavaca, Mexico: The Perfect Place to Study Spanish.

“My Mexican ‘mama’ Esperanza Carrillo Perez welcomes me warmly and calls me ‘mija’ a conjunction of ‘mi hija’ or my daughter. For a weary traveler arriving in a foreign city, being received as a part of the family is soothing. My room is equally convivial. Pink blankets with a picture of a cartoon character lie on my bed while a massive dresser and a closet have been emptied for my clothing.

The Universidad Internacional offers four housing options with families as well as helping students to find hotels if they wish. I chose to live in a private room with a shared bathroom. The only other student, Mariela comes from Switzerland, and is nearly fluent in Spanish. I am the only English speaker in the house.

Throughout the week, I realized that Mariela’s seeming fluency in Spanish is augmented by her hands. She plays charades during every conversation. Eating, drinking, dancing are all acted out as she speaks so that she can be understood if she has a vocabulary lapse or is simply not sure if her verb tenses or noun choices can be comprehended. It is a gift I begin to acquire, especially for conversations with my host family.”