Thursday, April 19, 2018

Culture and Food

Rasmus Callerhorn
MC Junior from Sweden

Swedish people and American people are very different. With only three words to describe either I would say that Swedish people are selfish, quiet, and tall. Three words for Americans are friendly, talkative, and diverse. The difference is huge, and for a lot of international students or people traveling a lot they know that there are culture shocks when it comes to everyday interactions with people. Swedish people usually don't engage in conversation if they do not have something important to say, and most of the time they don't even greet people they know when passing them by. Americans are the complete opposite, they are nice and always very talkative, random people can come up to you and start conversations, they hold open the door for you.

Someone like me who grew up in Sweden probably looks like the biggest introvert to Americans, but the Swedish norms are just so ingrained in me at this point. When I came to America I only greeted people if they greeted me, I usually look at the ground to avoid eye contact. Something that is common for Swedish people to say about Americans and one of the big problems for us is that it seems like you have a lot of friends but no close friends. Friends in Sweden are usually your closest friends that you interact with on a day to day bases, and little to no interaction with random people happens. For someone who is coming to America for the first time get ready for a lot of nice people who will have a friendly greeting, but be careful because most of them do not actually want to engage in conversations. 

I always had a hard time with people asking me "what's up?" I started to engage in conversation when they really just wanted you to say "good, how about you?". People that greet you do not always want to start a conversation which is very different from Sweden, only time someone would say something is when they wanted to talk to you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Learning English to Learn Spanish

Mackenzie Yaksic
PUCV (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile)

As I have delved into greater depths of learning the ins and outs of the Spanish language, I have realized how grateful I am to know English grammar. I feel, as an enthusiast of the English language and a beginner of the Spanish language, that it is extremely important to know a basic foundation of English grammar before you embark on a journey of learning a new language. This is why:
          Yesterday in class we began to learn (or review) el prĂ©terito perfecto in our grammar class. When the professor, who speaks little English, began to explain the tense, many people were lost almost immediately if they had not already learned the tense. The professor knows that I love English grammar, because of a past conversation, and requested that I explain the subject in English before we all progressed in Spanish. I was slightly taken aback when I realized many people in the class did not have a basic understanding of the verb tenses in English. It made it much more difficult for them to progress quickly and efficiently in Spanish.
          I don't write this post to shame people who do not know English grammar, because to many people, English grammar is the definition of a snooze fest. Nor do I write this post to gloat about my little English grammar knowledge or that I acted as the teacher's pet for a day. I write this post to inform anyone who plans to learn another language. Get familiar with your native language before you set off to become bilingual; it will help tremendously, and you'll be amazed at how quickly you are able to relate new Spanish concepts to ones in English. It has helped me progress in the language and translate between the two languages, and I greatly advise it for anyone who is serious about mastering a new language.