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March 2023 - Laura Nickelhoff

An extremely dedicated student, Laura has put in the time and effort during her studies at Tierra to blossom into an advanced Spanish speaker. Motivated by a desire to exercise her brain and expand cultural horizons, she is thoughtful and analytical, often asking questions with answers that unearth nuance for the whole class. Laura is a calm presence who is a kind and supportive classmate. Particularly interested in literature, she has milked opportunities to take literary immersion classes at Tierra and always engages deeply with the language and story.  With her love of travel being another impetus to improve her ability to communicate in Spanish, she reports finding the skills she’s gained at Tierra to be transformative during a trip last year to Patagonia. We’re honored to count Laura as part of our wonderful student community and look forward to continuing to see her achieve and surpass her fluency goals.

Name: Laura Nickelhoff
Occupation: Project Manager
Time Studying at Tierra: About 3 years

1) Why are you studying Spanish?

"I started learning Spanish as a kid in school and continued through a semester in college, but hadn't engaged with it for a long time before starting classes at Tierra. I realized I was losing my grasp of the language (quite a lot) and wanted to get it back. I find that it uses a completely different part of my brain than I do in my work and everyday life and I really enjoy the change of pace it provides me. I have also really enjoyed learning culture and history along with the language, and the literature classes have been some of my favorites. I love to read, and it's really cool to be able to connect with literature in Spanish through the Tierra classes! In addition to picking up more of the language, the books and stories provide so much insight into the time and place where they were written".

2) What is your favorite part about your experience here at Tierra?

"Over the last couple of years I found myself in classes with the same instructor and a lot of the same students and I've really enjoyed feeling like part of a cohort. It's been fun to get to know everyone and to have a strong sense of progression through the courses. However, all of our classes had been online until the last couple of sessions, and I was so excited to be able to go back to in-person classes last year! I finally got to meet everyone in person for the first time (including Norberto!) and it's been a really nice change of pace for me from online everything".

3) Can you tell us of a time you have been able to use what you have learned studying here?

"I don't get many opportunities to use Spanish in my daily life, but I love to travel (which is another big motivation for me to study Spanish). One of the first trips I took since the pandemic started was to Argentina last spring. I've travelled in Latin America before, but it was really rewarding to see how far my Spanish has come since taking classes more regularly these last few years. I could understand much more than on previous travels and I felt a lot more confident speaking with people we encountered. One of the activities we did on our trip was a guided kayak tour and I was able to speak quite a bit with the guides and learn about their lives in Patagonia. Kayaking is already fun, but it was even more so when I felt like I could get to know the people we were with".

¡Felicidades Laura!