My memories of studying Spanish at Nueva Lengua in Bogota are divided into three seperate weeks spread out over one and a half years.
During each week I learned new things and created new experiences which will stay with me for the years to come.
However, my first week ( back in July 2016) turned out to be the reason why I returned for another two times and therefore I have decided to share with you my memories of this particular week.
Having arrived in Bogota on a Thursday late at night after I finished a very busy term of work in London only the night before, with no real knowledge of the Spanish language apart from ‘Hola’ and some small words I had picked up in my Zumba classes and with my beginner course starting the following week, I was already asked to come along on a weekend trip to Villa de Leyva with a small group of other students who I had never met before and who all spoke Spanish very well.
Adding on a major jet lag this could have been a daunting experience but it could not be further from the truth:
I immediately felt included by everyone and was met with pleasant patience from each person when I made an attempt to speak a full Spanish sentence with the few words I had picked up during those days.
These two days set the tone for the rest of the week and I came to understand why so many people from all over the world come to study Spanish at Nueva Lengua.
I created memory after memory with the most notable ones consisting of finding new friends in a Colombian and English couple who invited me to their wedding in Bogotá nine months later, experiencing my very own ‘dar papaya’ moment only 100 meters away from the school when a cheeky cyclist grabbed my new Iphone 6 (in my defence: it’s much bigger than the Iphone 5 so it sticks out more when you hold in your hand!) within seconds of cycling passed me, to being offered by other students to help me buy a new phone and eventually being driven around by car on a Friday evening late at night from shopping mall to shopping mall to find the best mobile phone deal because I would go travelling for three weeks the following day and really did need to have a working phone on me!
These experiences, alongside all the fantastic beginner classes, were invaluable to me as they gave me some extra confidence whilst travelling on my own for three weeks in a country I had never thought I would be visiting.
They allowed me to communicate more freely (due to my newly acquired Spanish vocabulary and with a little bit of help from Google Traductor ;-)) with the people (not only Colombian but also from other countries near and far) I met on my journeys, who yet again became very good friends and who I reunited with on my following two trips.
Not knowing what the future holds in store I revisit and refer to these memories often and can only hope they will stay with me for a long time to come and if possible will be combined with newly created adventures on some more visits to Colombia and of course Nueva Lengua.
Merel van der Knoop