As I was preparing for this trip one of my concerns was being able to communicate with others in Spanish. At first I had viewed this as a barrier. I believed that I wouldn´t be able to understand those around me. Once I was put into these situations I realized that not fully understanding what was going on made me eager to learn. I began to look at these conversations as a way to take it slow, connect with others, and keep a positive mindset. When I was able to understand someone or they could understand me, we formed an instant connection. When I was with my homestay family I remember how happy we would get when we finally could understand each other, and how a difference in language did not stop us from communicating. Additionally, when we were coming back from Quixaya I was able to have a conversation with someone even though I did not completely understand him. This was one of the more interesting conversations I had.
As I began to form these connections I thought about connections at home. I realized that since there is no language barrier for me at home it is easier to brush off a conversation or not make connections with those around me. Since there is not a language difference a conversation can become meaningless, but with a difference it encouraged and challenged me to make connections.
Those conversations I had were more meaningful even if there was a barrier in the way. Since I had to put more effort into communicating in a different language it caused me to want to continue the conversation. I was able to view this barrier as a bridge to one´s culture, traditions, and community rather than something in my way.
I have learned that there is no need to be fearful of trying to understand or speak a different language because with this difference a conversation can be more meaningful. In the future if I travel to another country that speaks another language I can view this as an opportunity to expand my knowledge and make connections.