Learning English with profile: Kaiet Areitio Barainca, 25, Elko, Nevada, USA. He currently lives in Vitoria-Gasteiz. He’s a sales engineer for a translation company.
· How did you learn Spanish? Did you go to an Official School of Languages? Did you go to a Private Academy? By yourself?
I learned Spanish in Donostia when I was 21 and in college. I studied abroad for one year thru a program that linked my university to the University of the Basque Country. I went to Donostia and didn’t know a single word and now I’m more or less bilingual.
· What would you recommend to somebody who´s learning English?
Never feel afraid of making a mistake, it’s the best way to learn, and practice every chance you get the opportunity. Also watch everything you can in the original version, even if you don’t understand everything it helps your ear become more accustomed to the language. I used this technique with Spanish and it continues to help as I improve every day.
· How was the first time you talked in English with a Spanish person? Was it difficult or easy?
I find it to be a bit difficult because generally the English taught here is British English. The British accent varies significantly from the American accent and we use different words for many things. I found and continue to find that I have to neutralize my native accent or people tend not to understand me. We Americans are famous for shortening words or not pronouncing everything clearly. My accent has change quite a lot, when I went home on vacation my friends made fun of me because I didn’t talk like them anymore.
· Which other languages can you speak?
I can speak Spanish fluently and I’m currently learning Euskara (Basque Language) but I only control it at a very basic level.
· Which other languages would you like to speak?
I have always loved Euskara; I think it’s a beautiful language. I spoke it when I was a child with my dad but fell out of practice so my goal is to learn it fluently. After that I would like to learn either French or perhaps German. After I learned Spanish I really fell in love with language learning. I watch shows and movies in original version even if I don’t understand them. I just put on English subtitles.
· Is the US accent very difficult to understand?
I think the US accent is easier personally. I think as I said before it’s difficult for many people because here in Europe they are taught British English. However, so many movies and television shows are American that I think the younger generation is more accustomed to it. The American accent is better in my opinion but again I’m biased.
· If I travel to Nevada, What would you recommend me to visit?
It depends, I’m from northern Nevada and personally I always recommend the Ruby Mountains, they are just a short drive from my house and they are protected as a national forest. However, if you’ve never been Las Vegas it is a place everyone should visit once. Lake Tahoe and Reno are also two of my favorite Nevada destinations.
· Is Nevada an expensive state compared to Vitoria?
It’s not that expensive compared to the rest of the US but compared to Vitoria it might be a bit more.
· Are US people open-minded or shy?
Most people I know are quite open minded, but we did just elect Trump president, so who knows.
· Was it difficult adapting yourself to the Vitoria Gasteiz way of life? For example: We usually have lunch or dinner earlier than in the US.
My dad is from here so I guess I got used to it quite quickly. I love Euskadi so it wasn’t a very big issue for me.
· What do you miss from Nevada? The family, the friends?
Besides my friends and family I miss the sunset over Nevada, I sound like a romantic but Nevada has the best sunsets on Earth.
· Would you like to live in another country? Why?
Right now I’m really enjoying my time in the Basque Country but you never know, I love to travel so maybe but I don’t see myself living anywhere besides Spain or the USA.
· Do you know somebody that we should interview for this section?
My friend Jordan Wright, he is a world traveler.
· Anything else you’d like to add…
I’d just like to thank you for inviting me, it’s been a pleasure.
Thank you very much Kaiet!
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