Hola, Soy Dominique
When I was twenty-three years old, I found myself one year out of college working at various soul-crushing “corporate-america” jobs asking myself, “is this it?” I felt lost and uninspired, so I decided to make a radical change and follow a dream that had been burning deep in my soul.
In three months I had sold my car, broke my apartment lease, packed my life into two suitcases and boarded a plane to Barcelona, Spain to live with a host family and work as an Au Pair for one year.
After years of taking Spanish in high school and college, I thought I would have no trouble navigating my way through a Spanish-speaking country.
But, much to my dismay, I could barely put together a few sentences in Spanish when trying to speak with the locals in Barcelona. I felt so frustrated that I decided to devote myself to learning the Spanish language - for real this time.
Through a mix of intensive courses, reading, writing, music, listening, speaking, cultural experiences, and a lot of personal discipline, I was able to truly internalize the language and achieve fluency in Spanish. These experiences helped me understand that the traditional American way of learning a language in the classroom, by simply memorizing vocabulary, conjugations and a huge amount of content, in a short amount of time and then being tested on it, was highly ineffective.
I realized that fluency in any language is acquired through authentic, meaningful experiences and most importantly, a deep personal drive to truly learn the language.
During my transformational year in Barcelona, I acquired my Spanish nickname, La Mariposa, or, the butterfly, and ever since I became La Mariposa, my love affair with the Spanish language has allowed me to fly all over the world. After leaving Barcelona in 2012, I spent six months in Madrid taking more Spanish courses and then lived in Mexico City for two years after that. In 2017, I accomplished a major educational goal of mine by passing the DELE C1 Exam (Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera), an advanced level certification.
Nowadays I have to confess that I still nerd-out on Spanish grammar but what I really live for is mastering new dialects and forming deeper relationships with the Spanish-speaking people I encounter in my life. Learning Spanish from the ground up and, more importantly, immersing myself in various Spanish-speaking cultures, has forever changed my identity. I hope to share that life-changing power of this enchanting language with others.