The Best Way to Learn a Language


Ha! Gotcha! This may be a little bit of clickbait, but I definitely learned a lot from my parents coming to visit Bilbao for a week. And, don’t worry, I will share some of the things that I learned at the end of the article.

For their spring break, my parents decided to come to Bilbao for a visit. We had a great time, and I got to show them some of the coolest spots in town, but here’s the kicker. Neither of my parents know Spanish nor Basque.

When they first arrived in Bilbao, I went to meet them at their hotel, and we decided to make a rough plan of what we were going to do over the week. The first night, we just went to a nice restaurant (Kasko in Casco Viejo, for those who may end up in Bilbao) that was recommended by my host family.

From then on, we played almost everything by ear. I warned my parents that jet lag would hit them hard the second day, but they didn’t believe me until they were waking up after 10 am that day. That night we had our fair share of pintxos and then met up with some of the friends that I have made to watch UEFA Champions’ League soccer.

The next day was another day of adjustment for my parents; they slept in pretty late and met me for lunch between classes. We later went shopping at Centro Comercial Zubiarte; the weather wasn’t ideal, which didn’t leave us with many options of things to do.

The following day, we decided to visit the Guggenheim art museum. I personally loved the museum and its’ odd collection, ranging from interactive exhibits to Picasso and Van Gogh. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it.

The weekend leading up to my parents leaving was a blur. We went and saw Twenty One Pilots, an American alternative band, play at the local convention center. Finally, we all went to a bar to watch Athletic Bilbao, the local La Liga club, play against Atletico Madrid.

I loved being able to show my parents around the city I have been living in for the better part of 2019, and it genuinely helped my Spanish. Since neither of them know the language, I was forced to become their translator whenever people didn’t understand. Having to do so on the fly showed me how I had been progressing in my language learning and gave me the confidence to keep working hard on it because I saw the fruit of my labors thus far. It helped me, and I’m sure it’d help any one of you.

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