Six weeks have flown by in Colombia, and now I’m back in the USA. The first couple days back, I found myself saying things in English but in grammatical structures of Spanish or even saying certain words in Spanish in the middle of an English conversation. I smile at these little mistakes because I feel like I reached my goal of immersing myself in the language as much as possible when I was in Colombia. One of my biggest pieces of advice for students studying abroad to learn a language is to use every opportunity to speak the language you are there to learn. My group from UA was very successful in this, speaking Spanish even when we were hanging out with only each other outside of an academic setting. This can be really discouraging when you can’t fully convey your ideas, but it’s so worth it and after a while it becomes more natural. There were always temptations to use English- for example, when you want to say a joke that doesn’t quite translate or you’re sick and just want to explain what’s wrong or even just complain. It’s definitely not the end of the world to give in to these temptations every once in a while, but the most important thing in my education in Colombia was fighting those temptations as much as possible and committing to using Spanish. Now that I’m back in my hometown there’s little to no opportunity in my daily life to use Spanish and I’m already looking for ways to get involved in speaking Spanish when I get back to school. This lends itself to my second piece of advice which is to view your study abroad experience as the beginning of your learning, because mastering a language is a lifetime effort.