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Speaking to the Heart

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart."

-Nelson Mandela

Of all the benefits of learning another language, this is the one that I most appreciate. Of course it's wonderful to be able to read the newspaper in a foreign country, ask for directions, and communicate with shopkeepers. But it is beautiful to connect with people in their own language. I find that the people I've come in contact with feel respected when I don't expect them to speak English for my convenience, but rather, I communicate in their language. Even in the beginning of my experience learning Spanish, people were so appreciative of the effort, even though I may not have been fully coherent. Taking the risk to practice your Spanish before you're 100% comfortable is an essential element to gain fluency. If you do that, it doesn't matter what your Spanish level, the people that you communicate with will be touched, and you will be able to connect in a way like no other.