Home Institution

George Washington University

Publication Date

Fall 2009

Program Name

Spain: Language, Community, and Social Change


In the following paper, I describe the volunteer project that I conducted during my fall 2009 semester in Granada, Spain. I spent a few hours each week accompanying voice lessons in a music school located in the neighborhood in which I lived while I was learning Spanish. This paper chronicles the importance of language and communication to my work, including problems that I had with the language barrier in communicating with people in the school before I was comfortable with the language. Though I originally planned to analyze relationships between teachers and students as a major theme in my project, halfway through the semester it became clear that my own personal growth was becoming a more prominent theme than I had expected. The paper describes the growth process in detail. Throughout the course of this semester, I found that becoming re-accustomed to playing the piano for an audience was a process metaphorically equal to enjoying a new culture for a semester. The problems that I encountered when I hit resistance this semester, either in my work at the school or trying to become accustomed to Spanish ways of living, gave me more insight into the way that I live in the United States than was comfortable at first, but ultimately the process has been extremely rewarding.


First and Second Language Acquisition | Music Practice


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