For this blog post my class was assigned to write about our comfort zones in Italy. Having studied here before and taken Italian classes back at home I have not felt too out of my comfort zone here. However, I definitely do not feel 100% comfortable and I remember being a little out of place on past study abroad trips. Growing up I studied and French and Spanish in school. I was taught math, science and the arts in a different language so speaking another language has never felt out of the ordinary for me. However, every time I had to speak my second language growing up it was because I was being graded or evaluated. I never learned another language just for the fun of it or because I had lived somewhere else. Therefore whenever I am supposed to practice Italian or Spanish I feel comfortable with knowing another language but I am always worried that what I am saying is incorrect or that the other native speaker is judging me. I know that I should practice more but speaking with people who know the language more than I do can be intimidating. Last night my group went to a party that was hosted by the Italian students in Urbino. I was excited to meet some Italian students but nervous to speak Italian in front of them. I think that with Italian being major I sometimes feel as though I should be much more advanced with my conversational Italian.
I think the biggest thing that has taken me out of my comfort zone is accepted to be a sort of TA for this trip. I am very hard on myself when it comes to school and it was difficult for me to think that I would be teaching other people about a subject that I am not extremely confident in. I frequently found myself also not knowing all of the answers to the other students questions and it made me feel unqualified for the role I was. Despite my apprehension, this teaching experience has been very positive. I forgot how difficult it can be to start a new language and any sort of help I have been able to give everyone has boosted my confidence. Helping out my fellow classmates has made me want to continue learning more and more everyday. I just need to not be so hard on myself and remember that learning a language is not always about the correct conjugation of a specific verb but adopting the culture as well.