I recommend you to read the article from the March issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, which addresses the need of dietetic professionals to serve the Hispanic population. The article describes the challenges in the health and nutrition care of this population and states that the ideal for RDs that serve this population is to be fluent in Spanish. That makes sense. It is not enough to know names of food and simple phrases if you want to connect with your clients and change the way they are eating. If you are thinking about interpreters: they are not always available, and if they are, many concepts can be lost in translation depending on the interpreter’s understanding.
So, I imagine there are many dietitians and dietetic technicians learning Spanish right now. Have you ever felt frustrated learning a new language? I did! Learning a foreign language is a fun, but difficult task. It’s something you cannot learn in a few “intensive” classes or months. It takes time and effort. I’m native Spanish and I have learned English at high school, plus private lessons for 2 years. But it wasn’t until I move to the U.S. that I started to learn the real language. At first, I only was able to understand half of what people said to me and it was hard for me to find the words to express my thoughts. I felt so frustrated and embarrassed! Reading English was easy for me but it was harder when it came to listening and talking. I was not used to hear and make those new sounds all day (as you imagine I had many headaches). With time, I became more fluent and realized that the best way to learn a foreign language is when you are in a situation where you are forced to use the language on a daily basis.
After 2 years of living in the US, I came back to Argentina where I was afraid of losing the English fluency I had achieved. Well, it’s been almost 3 years since then and here I am, forcing myself to use the language daily! J
I read, write, talk and listen to some English every day. It’s not hard because here we are exposed to music, movies, technology, and also professional continuing education and research updates that are in English.
But, what if you are an English speaking person learning Spanish? I’ve heard is more difficult to learn Spanish for you than English for us, because of all the Spanish pronouns, articles and verb variations, and of course the pronunciation. But don’t panic. You can take Spanish lessons but it is key to have a “workout” plan to master the language. Plan something for everyday to use the language. Some examples:
Are you learning a foreign language? How? Please share with us any other tip!
I hope this helps and buena suerte!
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