51. What they don’t teach you in Harvard’s Spanish classes

Once upon a cold and snowy Harvard winter, when Steve went to Spanish class.

A middle-aged guy named Steve walks into an intermediate-Spanish class for Harvard undergrads, and does a quick assessment of their advantages versus his.

Theirs: They’re smarter. They take tests really well. They’ve had more Spanish. They can hear perfectly fine. They’re highly motivated to get good grades. They seem to relish the mental struggle.

Steve’s: He shows up on time.

And it gets better. Like when Steve teams up with one of the students, Josh Robinson, to do an oral presentation in Spanish on Reggaeton. Steve’s first question to his teammate: “What’s Reggaeton?”

Harvard student Josh Robinson, who asked Steve to be his teammate for a presentation in Spanish

The power of perseverance is on humorous display in Episode 51.

Enjoy this fifth free audiobook chapter of America’s Bilingual Century by Steve Leveen. You’re listening to Chapter 27, narrated by Sean Pratt.


Listen on iTunes by clicking here: America the Bilingual by Steve Leveen on iTunes. Or on SoundCloud here. Steve comments on Twitter as well.

Enjoy the book in your favorite format. Click here.


Support for the America the Bilingual project comes from the Levenger Foundation.

Support for our podcast episodes comes from members of the America the Bilingual Project team, including Caroline Doughty, our audio and digital book maven; Fernando Hernández and his production house, Esto No Es Radio, who provide sound design and mixing; Mim Harrison, our editorial and brand director; Carlos Plaza, our creative director; and Karla Hernandez at Daruma Tech, who manages our website. Meet the entire America the Bilingual team—including our bark-lingual mascot, Chet—here.

Like the music? It’s “Quasi Motion” by Kevin Macleod at the start of the episode and then  “West in Africa” by John Bartmann.

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