Feature Friday: Meg Fayen

Meg Fayen
Meg Fayen and her student, Rosario, have been working together for the last 2½ years. Studying abroad in college gave Meg insight into the challenges and rewards of learning Spanish, and how important it is to have a comfortable environment to do so. “When I found out about Intercambio,” says Meg, “I wanted to become involved to help someone facing those same challenges.” While Meg found she could relate to Rosario’s striving to improve her language skills, she also realized “that my experience as a single, temporary resident in Spain was only the tip of the iceberg compared to what someone like Rosario–who is raising a family in a country with her secondary language–faces every day.”

What has been surprising about working with your student or something unexpected you have learned?
– How much I am learning from my student! While I am able to help Rosario expand her English skills, I admire her so much and she has given so much back to me. Rosario is a strong person, dedicated to her family, and very hardworking. She is extremely busy raising a family, but she still manages to use any of her spare time to take a class, connect with her neighbors, or help other parents of young children. Here in Boulder I am away from my family, but it is so wonderful to be around a loving and supportive family like hers.

What was the most enjoyable lesson to teach?
– During one lesson, Rosario and I called and made hotel reservations for her son’s out-of-town soccer tournament. It was awesome to see such a practical application of her improving language skills, and I’m sure she’d be able to do it again without any help from me. I love any lesson that shows how Rosario’s dedication to learning English is making her more and more independent every day.

How has teaching impacted your day-to day life, conversations, or how you connect with community? Has teaching inspired you to make any changes?
Rosario and I usually start our lesson with a check-in about her family and we often dive into big parenting topics, like nutrition, schools, youth sports, and family traditions. I learn a lot from our conversations and, not having kids myself, it has opened my eyes to some of the issues that parents of young children are facing.