Are you embarrassed to speak Spanish to native speakers?
Practically every day I talk to a student who tells me how embarrassed they are to speak Spanish in front of native speakers. They are afraid to make mistakes and “sound like a five-year-old.”
It’s very easy for me or someone else to tell you not to be embarrassed, but that doesn’t mean that the embarrassment will suddenly disappear. However, there are a few things you may want to consider.
You are learning an entire other language!
This is huge! How many people can say that? I am pretty sure that in the world the percentage of people who are learning a foreign language is much, much smaller than the percentage of people who are not.
It took you years to learn your native language!
After all of the years you have working on your native language, there are still many many things that you do not know. How could you possibly expect to speak a foreign language perfectly when you have probably put in 1% or less of the time that you put into learning your native language?
Native Spanish speakers are generally thrilled and flattered when you’re learning their language!
They don’t care if you make mistakes. And if they do care, why should you? Do they speak English perfectly? Do most people who learn a foreign language speak it perfectly? Um, no.
Who doesn’t love to be the expert?
People in general love to teach others something that they know how to do well. Tell a native Spanish speaker that you are learning their language and that you would love the opportunity to practice with them, and they will feel like they are on top of the world!
Remember why you’re doing this!
Most people learn a foreign language so that they can better communicate with others in the world. You do not need to do it perfectly, you just need to do it.
Letting go of the embarrassment is by far the most important thing you can do during this amazing journey. It will free you up to put yourself out there, make mistakes, and learn from them, which will actually help you to improve your Spanish! It will give you the opportunity to meet others and to learn about their culture. Learning a new language truly opens up an entire other world. Allow yourself that extraordinary opportunity.