All languages are complex, and despite the apparent similarities, all languages are different. It is not easy to learn a different language, but having extraordinary people to help you through the process makes the struggle of learning a new language worth it.
Yesterday I met Alex, the head of the purchases department at the Methodist University of Sao Paulo. He paired me with a wonderful woman named Tati. She told me early on in our conversation that it was essential for us to work together to practice. She wanted to practice her English, and I needed to practice my Portuguese. As we pieced together phrases in Portuguese and English I started to feel more and more comfortable understanding Portuguese.
Everyone in the office then got in a circle and started asking Ben and I questions. Tati and I did our best to translate questions and answers to and from Rebecca, Liliane, and Vitor. I had so much fun answering questions in a mix of Portuguese and English. We talked about our ages, where we were from, what we thought about Brazil, and the foods we need to try while we are in Brazil.
I left the office feeling so encouraged to keep practicing my Portuguese. By the end of the day, I was surprised to hear the people we were talking with wanted me to help them practice their English! I felt so happy talking with everyone today. It made me realize that practicing a language with people who care can make the process so much more enjoyable. I am so excited to spend the next two weeks shadowing these amazing people.