Adair Ahlers

Higher Ed Associate Regional Manager

I believe learning a modern language opens doors for students to speak a new language, and to think globally. Students who study modern languages are equipped with the ability to use their multilingual skills in their future career, and are given cultural insight when traveling abroad.

My most memorable authentic cultural experience was when I participated in a paella cooking class while vacationing in Barcelona. I found the class on Tripadvisor, and quickly learned that it was run by a woman out of her home. I was very impressed, as it was rated number two on the “Thing to Do in Barcelona” list, just after the Sagrada Familia. The instructor, Marta, greeted the students outside of her building, and escorted everyone up to her beautiful apartment, which had a terrace that overlooked the bustling streets of the city.

All of her students were from different cultural backgrounds and countries. Under Marta’s instruction, we began to work with the ingredients. Meanwhile, Marta told us about her life in Barcelona, occasionally slipping in a wonderful cooking tip between her stories. Afterwards, we all sat down at her dinner table and enjoyed the paella. Having the opportunity to meet fellow travelers, share stories, and enjoy a meal we made together was an unforgettable experience that I will always cherish.

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