When I first met Nina, I had no idea that she would leave such a positive impact on me and the Coffee Shop Spanish community. She first learned about Coffee Shop Spanish when she tore a tab off a flyer at Northside’s Sidewinder Coffee, preparing to move to Nicaragua just six months later. Since that time, she has lived and worked in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, worked with Su Casa Hispanic Center in Cincinnati, played a vital role in organizing Coffee Shop Spanish’s first high school Spanish Immersion Camp, and even traveled with us on our inaugural immersion trip to Spain.

(If you want to check out the story we did earlier this year on what Nina had to go through to get to where she is now, check out the article here.)

Earlier this year, Nina was admitted to the Auxiliares de Conversación program in Spain and arrived in the beautiful Andalusian town of Granada in late September, 2016. As she begins her year-long journey, she has graciously offered to take us with her by way of weekly guest posts right here on the blog.

Below is her first post.

Enter Nina.

I’m now living in Spain.

It’s Saturday evening and I’m sitting on the terrace of my Airbnb in Granada, Spain. I’m experiencing a mixture of emotions right now, as I’m sure so many others in my situation are feeling. I mean, I finally did it! I moved to Spain! It’s beyond exciting that I get to call Granada, a city that Spaniard and expat tourists flock to, home for the next year.

At the same time my schedule is all out of sorts as I’m still adjusting to the time change, I’m feeling a bit lonely and of course I’m feeling a tad scared. But I think that everyone who has been or is where I am now has felt all of these things. There are lots of uncertainties and new things when moving to a foreign country.

I also think it’s fitting that I chose to wear my Coffee Shop Spanish t-shirt for lounging around on the terrace and getting blog stuff done. In June of 2015, I came to Spain on an immersion trip with Coffee Shop Spanish and fell in love with the country. We went to seven different cities in about two weeks. Sleeping didn’t happen much but we had a blast. I can confidently say that I am quite literally in Spain because of that trip.

I got my foundation with Coffee Shop Spanish

I began taking weekly lessons with Coffee Shop Spanish about a year and a half ago, which amazes me when I think of where I am now. I really didn’t start learning Spanish all that long ago and here I am, for all intents and purposes fluent, and living in Spain.

At the time, I had plans to move to Nicaragua and, thus, needed to learn the language. However, for too many reasons to mention now, I was only in Nicaragua for a short time. When I finally returned to Cincinnati, I decided to continue with the lessons and thank goodness I did. My favorite thing about learning as an adult is that there are no grades. In fact, I feel like that helped me learn a lot better. When you know you’re not being graded on every move, you’re more free to make mistakes. When you just speak without fear, you learn faster and become more comfortable speaking. In essence, you should be making errors as you are learning. It means you’re moving forward. That’s been my experience, anyhow.

I can not only survive, but actually converse with people

Now I’m not going to say that speaking Spanish 24/7 has been a complete cakewalk. After all, I’ve only been here a total of three days (as of this writing). I’ve had my difficult moments and I’m sure I’ll have many more to come. However, speaking Spanish all the time has not been as difficult as I thought. I credit this to Coffee Shop Spanish for continually forcing me to “just speak” and my position at Su Casa Hispanic Center. Both opportunities forced me to speak Spanish, whether I felt ready or not.

Thanks to this, my search for an apartment was 10 times easier. Texting landlords and people who need roommates in Spanish over Whatsapp was something I felt prepared for. After arriving, I’ve gotten into conversation with people, viewed apartments, met up with people and ordered in restaurants … all in Spanish. Yes, there have definitely been some moments where it’s been awkward, where I had no idea what the other person just said, where they had no idea what I just said or I needed to ask them to repeat themselves. However it in no way feels like starting at “0” and for that I am grateful.

It can only improve from here

I cannot thank Daniel and Coffee Shop Spanish enough for helping me to get to where I am today. I really cannot even imagine where my Spanish will be one year from now, but I am excited and so ready!

Throughout my journey in Granada, I plan to write about my experience as it pertains to Spanish. I hope you’ll follow along. I also have my own fashion and travel blog that you can follow. It’s called A World of Dresses.

Where are you in your language learning journey?

Nina Bosken is a Cincinnati native living in Granada, Spain as an English teacher and blogger. She blogs about fashion and travel over at aworldofdresses.com. She can be found wearing a dress and updating her Snapchat story 95% of the time.