The University of Iowa

Authored by Soley Thorsteinsdottir


Student Reflections on Race and Ethnicity: Learning language in Spain and Iceland

My name is Soley Thorsteinsdottir and I am studying civil engineering. I spent my junior year abroad in Spain and then in Iceland. I spent 4 months in each place trying to learn their respective languages. I only completed one engineering class while abroad so the year felt academically easy, but I found the challenge of learning a language and all its cultural cues very difficult. The most difficult part was getting over the embarrassment of thinking my language skill were inadequate. I found that the only times I practiced was when I was better at Spanish or Icelandic than my acquaintance was at English.