Obies Using Languages: Genevieve Gorjance ’18{0}

Genevieve is a current first year student from Berkeley, California. She took a gap year in Chile.

I spent my gap year in the archipelago of Chiloé in southern Chile. Over my gap year I wanted to become fluent in Spanish and learn about organic farming, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone by WWOOFing in Latin America. At first, it was terrifying, even though I had done well in high school Spanish class. I’d never heard the Chilean accent or Chilean slang, and over the first few weeks I had to have people repeat things to me a lot. But after I got more acclimated, my learning skyrocketed. I was there for eight months, and ended up going back for Winter Term! I love learning languages because it truly opens up new worlds. If I hadn’t learned Spanish, there are so many relationships I couldn’t have built, skills I couldn’t have acquired, and places I couldn’t have visited.