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We interview Elijah Berry, a 21-year-old student of Spanish and German at the University of Bristol. He recently completed his compulsory year abroad in Argentina and he is now studying his final year to graduate in 2021.
Berry recently won the Warwick Prize in Undergraduate Translation, with the translation of three texts from Spanish into English.
Why do you study Spanish?
I’ve studied Spanish since year 10 in secondary and I really enjoyed it all through GCSE and Alevel (it was one of my favourite subjects, I had a really good teacher and a lovely group of people in my class). I really believe that you should do something that you enjoy and so that is what I did. Spanish is also such a useful language in today’s world with so many speakers and learners.
What do I like most about it? What are biggest challenges?
I love that I can talk to people in their own language, rather than others always having to use English, I think it’s the best way to be able to understand other cultures and identities. Also being able to read Spanish language books, watch Spanish language movies and TV shows (there are some great ones out there) in their original language is very satisfying and I really get a lot out of it. Getting to learn about history, culture but also linguistics which I find really interesting and have only discovered during my time at university – but I love it! Translating is also a fun and unique aspect of language learning which I really like doing as well.
I think for me the biggest challenge is reaching and maintaining fluency – I’m still working my way there – but hopefully after some more time living in Spanish speaking countries, I will reach my goal.
What are my future plans in relation to Spanish?
Next year after graduation I am planning on doing a British Council Teaching Assistantship in either Ecuador or Spain. I am also interested in getting into the world of professional translation in the future. I definitely don’t want to lose my Spanish and I want to keep it up always! Spanish will always be important to me.