Universidad de Cantabria Summer Program, Spain
Major: Global and International Studies, Spanish
The best way to learn Spanish lies in one reflexive verb: equivocarse…to mess up! An moment that was probably embarrassing to forever burn in your mind so that you never forget that lesson…priceless! The best part about travelling is that one must learn to desensitize a little. The reality is, you may never see these people again, which is both relieving (in case you equivocarte) or terribly tragic. One night in Galicia, I was out to dinner with my entire Spanish class to celebrate the end of the semester and Christmas, and the cute boy in my class finally introduced himself to me. We were having a conversation about the show Criminal Minds and I was trying to use some Spanish grammar that I didn’t quite understand. It was one of those “If you were this guy, what would you do?” and in the stress of the moment of those two crazy verb tenses, I used the word “matador” for murderer. This should make sense, because the verb “matar” means “to kill”… so… killer, right? Nope. Apparently they use the word “assassin” which seemed a little intense to me, but apparently the word “matador” is STRICTLY reserved for bull killers. In some parts of Spain this is an easy mistake to laugh off, but in Galicia many people think that killing bulls is the epitome of animal cruelty and even bringing the topic up can be offensive. The entire bar went silent. After an agonizing like, ten seconds, my friend Eva jumped in and explained everything, but I will never ever forget to use “assassin” instead of “killer” in that country.