She Empowers Women Globally

As a Peace Corps Volunteer, a leader of a women’s hiking group as well as empowering women worldwide online, Nandi also uses Spanish to connect with others in her community locally. Check out the rest of the article to find out more about her language learning journey and her language learning tips.

BGLL: Welcome Nandi! Thank you so much for sharing your language learning journey with us. Tell us about yourself.

Nandi: My name is Nandi Bose'De Person, I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. I’m African American, my native language is English and I speak Spanish. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's in Business Administration. I am currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica.  I am a youth developer and the majority of my projects focus around girl empowerment and parent support. I am entering into my second year of service. 

As a side hustle, I enjoy working out and empowering women from all over the world to be the best version of themselves through health and fitness! Before I transitioned into the Peace Corps, I created a Women's hiking group that was established in St. Louis called Women in Nature (W.I.N) where women were able to connect, physically, mentally and emotionally through hiking and nature. I am passionate about human rights and promoting diversity!

BGLL: What is your most notable accomplishment to date?

Nandi: I would say that my most proud and notable accomplishment has been being the first-generation college graduate from my family. I was able to pave the way and help my younger brothers see that there are other opportunities and goals that we can achieve. I would also say overcoming the fear and making the decision to move to a different country without any previous overseas travels has been a notable accomplishment that I cherish deeply. 

BGLL: How did you learn Spanish? Do you know any other languages?

Nandi: I learned to speak Spanish when I moved to Costa Rica back in 2018, and ever since then I have been fully immersed in it. For where I am now, the biggest opportunity that I have been able to take advantage of, has been connecting with the beautiful people in my community (Limon, Costa Rica) through the language. Being able to relate and share experiences, cultures and dreams, through something so sacred as language, has motivated me to go beyond my comfort zone and to push my limits.

At the moment, Spanish is the only language I am currently learning and I have been able to utilize my Spanish speaking skills in the work that I do here as a Peace Corps Volunteer, connect with individuals within my community and inspire other women like myself to pick up a second language. 

BGLL: Did you ever feel too shy to speak Spanish? How did you overcome it?

Nandi: Before moving to Costa Rica, I didn't know any Spanish at all. I believe that not having been previously familiar with the language caused me to be very shy whenever I had to speak it. I think the way I eventually overcame this, was by owning where I am in my language learning process. Once I realized that I am not perfect, the journey took process. By embracing that, then and only then was I able to speak, make mistakes and be absolutely okay with the beauty of the imperfection. I became quick to tell native Spanish speakers that "I am still learning so I know I may sound crazy to you at times" and often times they laugh, which helps lighten up conversations, receive help, and release the tension on my end. 

BGLL: What was the hardest thing about learning Spanish?

Nandi: The hardest struggle with learning Spanish for me has been training my ear to match the speed of a native Spanish speaker. Often times people seem to speak very fast to me but I have overcome this by asking people to repeat themselves and also listening to music and reading books in Spanish. I have always been intrigued with the Latin culture and inspired to learn the Spanish language, so moving to Costa Rica as a Peace Corps Volunteer, receiving language training, and having to do all of my work in Spanish has really played a big part of my language learning journey. As I mentioned before, I became fully immersed in it which I believe is the best way to learn any language.

BGLL: What three tips would you give to others who are learning another language?

Nandi:  JUST START....don't wait for the perfect moment or the perfect tutor. Do it yourself, research a new word or phrase every day in the language you want to learn and go from there. FIND A FRIEND WHO SPEAKS THE LANGUAGE....If you can, find a friend who can help you and answer any questions that you may have about learning your new language. If you can't find anyone, utilize the internet and social media to meet people who can!! TRUST THE PROCESS. You have to trust the process, believe in your abilities and practice. It won't come easy. The first year will probably be the hardest, but as long as you know that you are capable of achieving your goals in your language learning journey, that's all you need to focus on. Trust the process and have fun doing so!!

BGLL: How can we find you on social media?

Nandi: Follow me on Instagram @naturalnandi. I would also like to share that for the month of February, I did a Black and Bilingual Women's series where each day, I highlighted a woman of the African diaspora on my Instagram page! I have been able to connect with amazing women who live all over the world, who speak so many different languages, and they, too, are sharing their language learning journey and creating black history in the countries and communities where they live! 

Next Project