Spanish Word – Chatalar/chatalando – to chat/chatting

This past week marks the halfway point of the summer intensive program. Wednesday and Thursday we completed our midterms. These tests are more of a mid-term placement test to see how you are progressing in the language. You complete tests that cover interpretive reading, interpersonal speaking, presentation writing and other similar areas of language learning. It was a bit difficult to study for this type of testing because there wasn’t really a list to memorize or topic to study…you just had to keep practicing your language. I think what helped me the most was meeting with my classmates and just chatalando. I think the tests went well, I did get a bit nervous during the Presentational Speaking portion where you have to talk on a topic in front of a few classmates, but I survived. Overall it is a bit crazy to think that when I started I could string together a few words to explain where I was from or basics about myself…but now I can discuss my political opinion or my understanding of a piece of art. Just to be clear, I can’t give super detailed discussion in rapid Spanish…but I can manage.

This is such a great program, I really feel like I’m improving and my professors and classmates are all so supportive! I think one thing that has been really helpful is the list of resources the professors have given us to study Spanish. Websites like , and  that help with translation and grammar explanation and practice. Other websites like and also have great ways to learn a language. Finding shows/movies on Netflix in Spanish, reading in Spanish and the radio in Spanish are more ways to integrate the language into your life. Our latest assignment in class was to find a news event in a Spanish speaking country that you can follow over several weeks. I found a story from Honduras covering a major environmental fight to try prevent a building of a dam. The main environmental activist, Berta Caceres, was assassinated last year in March and just a week or so ago her daughter (also an activist) was attacked as well, thankfully she survived. A close friend of Berta’s was sadly killed a few days later. I find this to be a very interesting story because the major investors in this project include a Chinese company as well as the World Bank, now they are beginning to withdraw and the Honduran government is sending mixed messages about what parts of the projects were approved.  I have been attempting to read all the news only in Spanish (which is our assignment) which means I am definitely missing some of the key information. Here are some articles (in English) for those interested:

European Banks-Honduras-Dam-Project


On a lighter note, I didn’t have class on Friday (midterm break) and went hiking with a few friends at Jack’s Peak. This hike is about 15 minutes from my house and you get a great view of the Monterey Bay area. It was a bit steep on some parts for out-of-shape me but we did finally find the view spot and it was beautiful!


View from the top


You can see Fisherman’s Wharf down below

This week I also visited a new beach, Marina State Beach. This is in the neighboring city of …. Marina! A few friends and I climbed up the sand dunes and watched the waves crash and the squid boats catch as the evening began.