Matt, Spanish Academy Student

For Matt, the real language learning happens outside of the classroom—at dinner, in the dorm, on the soccer field—when you're just going about your life completely immersed in Spanish.

“My school offers opportunities to travel to places like Costa Rica, or the Dominican Republic for a couple of weeks. So I’m kind of interested in those programs. I’d like to try that. And hopefully, when I’m a little older, I can maybe in college, maybe a summer, spend a month or two months abroad in a Spanish speaking country.

“The Language Pledge® and the whole immersion process I think was extremely helpful. Because it’s one thing to sit in a classroom for two hours and have a teacher basically speak at you what you should know. You need to learn this, you need to learn this grammar, you need to learn this vocabulary. And sure, you can take that all in. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can speak the language.

“Where the majority of the learning really comes in is when you’re on the soccer field, and you have to figure out how to say, ‘Oh, pass me the ball! Oh, take the shot!’ Something like that. When you’re sitting at the dinner table with your friends and you want to have a conversation about your favorite movies, or your favorite book, or just what happened during the day, and you can only use Spanish.

“That’s where the real learning comes in. Just being completely surrounded by Spanish. And learn, or be silent for a month. And it’s really neat, because you are learning while you’re just going about your life.

“Now that I’ve accomplished that, I sort of feel like I have the confidence and I have the ability to meet these challenges. And now, in the future, when presented with something big that seems really scary and impossible at the time. I don’t think I will be as scared. I don’t think I will be as shy or timid about it. I think I’ll have more confidence and the ability to just go for it.

“Me llamo Matt Benson. Tengo quince anos. Soy de Lexington, Massachusetts y estoy estudiano Espanol.”