> Joan is a 19 year old AIL Madrid student from San Diego, California, USA.
> She has been studying at AIL for nearly three months so far.
> Joan just earned a two year professional degree in dance, an art that is both her passion and her work.
> In San Diego, she teaches children´s ballet, as well as gymnastics and ice skating.
Joan on AIL Madrid:
“I love this environment because there aren´t formal tests, except the one at the very end. It´s not about the grade, it´s about actually knowing [Spanish] …. I just have to do what I need to actually learn the material, not to pass a test, so I feel like I’m learning way more in these three months than I did in school. I have a much more positive feeling about language learning now.”
Joan and her Host-Family:
“Family is so important here and that’s really nice. They always eat dinner together, and I spend Sundays with the family.”
“After class I´ll go over all my stuff with [Lucia, my host-sister] and we play the same games that we play in class... it usually clicks when I go back home and talk to the family and go ´oh ok, that’s what that was´. It compliments my class time.”
Joan on Being a Local:
“I feel more local than when I did my other [Europe] trip; we were going everywhere and it was very touristy. But because I’m kind of living here, I get to do local things and just live the daily life, which I really like…I go salsa dancing every Monday, I was surprised that people were just so serious about it! They just took you and started dancing with you and speaking in Spanish!”
“I like that every day is a challenge because I don’t speak the language; going to the store I have to pump myself up and think ‘you can do this!’ … So that’s what I would suggest. Get out there and try it!
Joan on the Future:
“I am coming back. I already want to book my flight, I already miss here and I haven´t even left yet. I´m coming back!”