Friday, August 7, 2015

How to Prepare for an Interview in a Foreign Language

It's nerve-wracking enough having an interview in your native language, but then add into the equation that you're doing an interview in a foreign language and that can send even the steadiest nerves into a jitter.

I know this fine well and when I was in the midst of looking for an internship in France, to start off with, my interview technique was god-awful, big time. And then put doing an interview in a foreign language into the mix, and my first attempts at finding an internship were, surprise surprise, unsuccessful.

Thankfully, I learnt from my mistakes. Through a long and arduous process of trial and error, I finally got an internship at a brilliant company in Paris and it was, hands down, one of the best experiences to date. I got live and work in Paris for one, work with lovely colleagues to boot and I got to improve my French, although my French is still nowhere near the level I want it to be.

Anyhoo, I thought it was high time anyone who has an upcoming interview in a foreign language could learn from my mistakes and I could be the lovely lass I am and pass on my tips and advice.

So, what are my tips for preparing for an interview in a foreign language, you ask? 

#1 Research

Of course, this is advice that anyone should bear in mind for preparing for any interview.  But when it's an interview in a foreign language, this comes in even more important. You can research your company in your target language, so you can get used to the appropriate vocabulary for your industry, as well as doing the standard research about the company you should already be doing. It kills two birds with one stone.

If you're interviewing for a big corporation, you could search online on sites such as Glassdoor to see if previous candidates have uploaded their interview questions. This will give you a better insight into what questions could crop up.

#2 Second guess potential questions

Once again, you should already have thought up potential questions. However, having an idea of the potential questions in a foreign language will allow you to have an idea of how the interviewer could word the question. You will have also have thought up answers to the questions, showing off why you are the perfect candidate for the job. The practise will prepare you to feel ready, confident and determined to get the job offer.

Youtube is a goldmine when it comes to practising interview questions in your target language. Simply type in interview questions on Youtube and you will find loads of videos with advice as to how to answer them in a foreign language.

#3 Grab yourself a language partner

If you know someone who is a native speaker, get a hold of them immediately and role play the interview. Your friend can help you out with any grammatical mistakes or necessary vocabulary and you will have a feel for the actual interview itself. Even if you don't know a native speaker, it's likely you have a friend who studies the same language. If you don't know anyone at all, try finding a language exchange partner on WeSpeke. Practise, practise, practise until your heart's content. The more practise, the better.

#4 Revise your weak spots

As much as we would all like it to be true, you are not going to learn the entire language in a day. But what you can to boost your confidence is revise your weak spots. Does the subjunctive leave your tongue in a twist? Do you hate pronouncing the guttural "r" or the nasal sounds in French? Do you forget those pesky false friends? Feeling confident about your weak spots will make you feel confident as a whole to do an interview in a foreign language.

#5 Get used to the language

Familiarise yourself with how native speakers talk by listening to the radio or music, watching clips on Youtube (finally an excuse to watch cat videos, as long as it's in the target language) or even feature-length films. Listening is a hard skill to improve and learn, but you can easily practise it by having it on in the background whilst you work, exercise, even relax or of course, prepare for your interview.

Do you have any tips for interviewing in a foreign language? Have you ever had an interview in a foreign language? How did it go?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Sea of Seven Colours: San Andrés

Ahh San Andrés. I was expecting sea, sand, coconuts, reggae and the like, and San Andrés lived up to that and then some.

La playa en la isla de San Andres, Colombia
Pantalla en la isla de San Andres, Colombia

I'm still marvelling at how blue the sea is, even right next to the town centre. I'm still admiring the cute Caribbean style signs and how colourful my photos are. And I'm still yearning to go back for more.

Sadly, the spanner in the works aka a big work assignment that I stupidly didn't finish before coming, got in the way of my rest and relaxation plan. But, even a big work assignment couldn't get completely in the way, and I definitely had a great taster of what the island had to offer. I came back less tense, with a massive grin on my face and I had let go of any pent-up stress.

Dia de la Independencia en San Andres, Colombia
Desfile del dia de independenca en San Andres, Colombia
Desfile del dia de la independencia, Colombia

I managed to arrive just as the island's independence day parade was in full swing. Crowds of San Andrés locals and Colombians had gathered to celebrate, Vendors were selling ice-cold beers, freshly cooked empanadas and the streets were buzzing with energy. The procession was filled with drums banging, percussion rattling and school children doing a 1-2 step to the beat. Apparently, mainland Colombians come to San Andrés for the Independence Day Parade, as well as the sun, sea and white sand beaches. Apparently that's a selling point too.

Ruta en San Andres, Colombia

You may have heard there's a lot of duty-free shopping, golf carts and all-inclusive holidays, and that is true. But San Andrés is so much more than that, and I loved my time there. Although, anything to do with the Colombian Caribbean and I will fall hopelessly in love with it (pretty much).

Bote en la isla de san andres, colombia

My plan was to while my days away on the beach, so that's pretty much all I did. And being a creature of habit I am, I would hop on the bus to San Luis, and get off at Rocky Cay. It's a white sand beach, which even has a island you can wade out to. The only other beach I went to was the one by the town centre, and whilst it does the job, it's packed full of holidaymakers seeing as it's right next to all of the hotels. Still, if you just want to lie on a beach, it will do the job.

El suelo colorido en San Andrés, Colombia

I didn't even make it over to Johnny Cay, Cayo Bolivar nor Cayo Cangrejo, all of which are beautiful beaches there. But I've decided, as with just about everything, it's an excuse to return to San Andrés. Along with the snorkelling and scuba diving options, as well as trying my hand at kite surfing of course.

Although even higher on my to-do list is visit the island of Providencia, which is a two hour seasick-inducing ride away on catamaran. The journey is worth it and I met so many who had just come back from Providencia and they were raving about it. Providencia is as nature intended, with pristine beaches and sea, without the big hotel complexes and duty-free outlets. Providencia is the perfect place to switch off and abandon the never-ending quest to look for wi-fi. 

Graffiti a Blue Almond Hostal, San Andres, Colombia
Artwork at my hostel, Blue Almond Hostel, check it out!

What San Andrés was perfect for, was a change of scenery, just as I was reaching boiling point with Medellín. As much as I love living in Medellín, there had been an unfortunate sequence of events that had me chomping at the bit to go elsewhere. San Andrés offered me an escape, conveniently coming with the typically laid-back Caribbean way of life, which allowed me to recharge my batteries and properly relax, even with a big work assignment to hand in.

That's the San Andrés effect.

Have you been to San Andrés? Where is your favourite place to go to relax?

Friday, July 31, 2015

How to Survive Full Language Immersion

If you have the chance to go abroad, and want to learn a language, the best and quickest way to learn a foreign language is full language immersion.

It's a no-brainer why - you're constantly surrounded by the language everywhere you go, and with that comes being able to practise it all the time, soaking up everything like a sponge.

When you're living, eating and breathing another language, however, it is not easy (stating the obvious).

It is, in fact, challenging, tiring, excruciatingly embarrassing and isolating at times, and it is hardcore (big respect to everyone who does it).

Whilst, language immersion is all of the above, it is also an amazing and fascinating experience. I am so, so, so glad I pushed myself to do it, despite all of the above challenges.

You get an insight into the language and culture you otherwise wouldn't have, getting to learn everyday language and slang. You practise every aspect of language, you're reading, writing, listening and speaking - it's particularly great for perfecting your accent. Full language immersion is a one big language learning lesson.

How do I know? Well, I've done three full-on language immersions now, one in Brittany, France for 6 weeks and one in Valentano, Italy for 6 weeks (I have sadly replaced Italian with Spanish, for now) during my gap year, and then two years ago, during my year abroad, I lived in a student residence for 3 and months, in Medellín, where I was the only foreigner.

With my language immersion experiences under my belt, I decided it was high time to give my top tips for surviving full language immersion:

#1. Prepare yourself

If you can familiarise yourself with the language pre-immersion, it will help you feel more prepared before doing it. Obviously, it is impossible to learn the entire language, but learning basic phrases and grammar, listening to the radio or music will help give you a head start to learning the language.

#2.  Ask lots of questions

It's likely you will find yourself at loss for words, or struggling to keep up with the conversation, especially in big group situations. Ask lots of questions, especially when you meet people so you can 1. dictate the conversation and have a better chance of following it and 2. it lessens the burden of you having to talk!

If you're lost in a conversation, don't be shy to interrupt it every now and then to ask what is the conversation topic. It can be difficult at times to keep up, and it will feel like you're watching a game of tennis, as you have to look at the person who is talking to focus on what they're saying. Even if you feel completely lost, rest assured that all of this practise is going somewhere, so don't feel downhearted.

#3. Rest

Constantly speaking and having to consciously think in another language is tiring work. This will seriously sap your energy levels, and you will want to go to bed a lot earlier than usual. This is completely natural, so embrace it, rest up and over time, you will stop needing to have your nanna nap and get your energy back. This may be subject to friendly ridicule by friends or your host family, but let them know that learning a language is a knackering business, because the struggle is real.

#4. Find a native language escape

Sometimes the frustrations of learning a language will get too much, so being able to express yourself in your own language is a great escape. When I was living in the student residence in Medellín, I would go to the Wandering Paisa language exchange every Thursday and just speak English the whole time. It was great to vent and not feel conscious of speaking and relax with a beer. Make sure you give yourself a language learning break too, whether it's having a Skype with a friend back home, catching up with someone for coffee or watching your favourite TV show.

#5. Revise what you've learnt at the end of the day

This is something that I'm admittedly not brilliant at, but revision is key to language learning. If revising at the end of the day is too much, make sure to regularly revise the new vocabulary and grammar you have learnt, or remember the corrections from any mistakes you have made. Revision is also a great way to reinforce the fact that you have learnt something new. There are times when you can feel like you've learnt nothing, or even somehow got worse, so it's a positive reminder you're improving.

Which brings me nicely onto the last point...

#6. Stay positive

As I've mentioned above, learning a language can sometimes feel isolating and frustrating. But, always remind yourself why you want to learn a language, how great it is, and that the end result will be worth it. You are doing an amazing thing, and it is an incredibly brave thing to live in another language. Keep up the hard work and, trust me, you will see unbelievable results, especially when you can impress people with your sh*t-hot language skills.

Have you done full language immersion? What are your language immersion tips?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Less than One Month to Go: The Colombia To-Do List

Here's what I want to do before I leave Colombia

I still can't believe in 3 weeks time, yes 3 weeks to the day, I will be jetting back to good ol' Blighty after six months in Colombia.

For want of a better reflective, looking back on time cliché, these 6 months have flew by. To say the least, I don't regret coming back to Colombia, despite my reservations that the second time round would maybe ruin my love for Colombia.

My mam and dad are not going to like seeing this, but my love for Colombia has only grew and I can see myself coming back to Colombia again, and again, and again.

As is the tradition, I set myself an overambitious list to do before I leave and so in the next three weeks I hope to:

1. Finally go to Eslabón Prendido on a Tuesday. This place is the place to go for salsa in Medellín and I've heard so much about it, I really want to go and shake what my mamma gave me and have a proper Colombian send-off, dancing the night away.

2. Make it to Chocó to see the humpback whales. I really, really, really hope to fit this in before leaving. Chocó has been top of my to-go list since my friend told me all about, and ever since I've been rewatching ChocQuibTown videos to make do.

3. Go see a football game. This is probably one of the least likely ones, as I always seem to find out about the game, when it's just about to start, but we'll see.

4. Finally, go to Santa Fé de Antioquia. It's only an hour and a half away and once again, I been told how beautiful the old colonial town is. But somehow, I still haven't made it there.

5. Finally eat a bandeja paisa. This is practically sacrilege considering how long I've been in Medellín, but hear me out, I've had all of the different components of bandeja paisa just not all together. For those who have yet to experience a bandeja paisa, it's a traditional dish from Medellín and I'm surprised it hasn't featured on Man Vs Food, considering it consists of chorizo, chicharrón (fried pork rind), morcilla (black pudding), mince, avocado, fried egg, plantain and rice. It is huge, and it requires a big appetite.

6. Go back to Comuna 13. I think it's just such a fascinating place, and I would love to do the graffiti tour to find out the stories behind the murals.

7. Paraglide over Medellín. I had the best intentions of doing so after my birthday two years back, but you know how things go. A few too many shots of aguardiente may or may not been involved in the process of losing all motivation to paraglide over Medellín. I think it would be a great way to say goodbye to Medellín.

And finally...8. Learn as much Spanish as possible. My Paisa friends are doing everything in their power to ensure I learn as many paisa phrases as possible, which is great as I want to improve my Spanish as much as possible before going. I still have a way to go, but I have improved greatly since being here.

It's very likely I won't do everything, but I intend to make the very most of my final three weeks here in Medellín *sob*. Feria de las Flores starts in just over a week, so I'm sure I will have a corker.

Any suggestions to add to my Colombia to-do list?

Friday, July 17, 2015

#InspireAClass to Learn Languages

Third Year Abroad and British Council have launched a new project #InspireAClass to inspire high school students to learn languages

I bang on a lot about how amazing learning languages is. But surprisingly, I feel languages has been a subject that I've neglected on the ol' blog.

I recently decided to resolve this, and have started including more language-related material. *Time for some cheeky self-promotion* Exhibit A - 5 ways languages have enhanced my travels. Exhibit B 5 top tips for newbie language learners and Exhibit C - Basic Paisa Spanish Expressions and Phrases.

Honestly, I could talk until the cows come home about how amazing languages are.

Which brings me nicely onto the reason why I love learning languages.

There are many, many advantages to learning languages such as improving your professional prospects (Exhibit A, B and C will reiterate my point), making you smarter (Ta Da, more articles to prove my point - A, B and C) and of course, being sexier doesn't hurt either (no exhibits needed, I'm right here*). If you need any more proof, why not have a deek at this bilingual infographic, this is the infographic to end all arguments with people who say learning languages are pointless:

*said with a cheeky bit of irony

inspire language learningLearn English with Kaplan

Of course, the above benefits are lovely, but for me, learning languages is all about being able to talk to even more people.

Time for a back story  - *clears throat* When I was a young bairn, I had a speech problem and I couldn't really talk until I was 5. I had extensive speech therapy and even now, I have issues with enunciation - although that may be more to the fact that I speak quite fast and with a bizarre half North-Eastern, half every other accent under the sun hybrid accent.

Back when I was cute. And look at that amazing 90s fashion.

Since then, I like to think I've been making up for lost time, it can be hard to shut me up at times. And at school, you could have even have gone as far as saying I was a bit of gobshite, as I was a cheeky so-and-so and my big fat mouth often got me into trouble.

Anyhoo, at middle school, whilst I wasn't completely struggling at school, I wasn't setting the academic world on fire. Middle school really wasn't my thing either, as certain teachers were negative Debbie Downers (teachers make a huge impact, for better or worse).

Until I started languages in year 7, I realised I had a knack for learning languages and there was a lovely, enthusiastic French teacher. I loved French, but then I sadly went through a stage of being too 'cool' to be clever - lol jk, I was and still am uncool. Kids, if you're reading this, pretending to be thick is not cool, USE YOUR INTELLIGENCE AND READ FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

Luckily, I realised when I went to high school that having GCSEs and the like were, and still are, useful/necessary, and what's more, I could actually get some good GCSEs too if I stuck at it with languages. I had great teachers at high school, and this is where you realise how important teachers are.

Whoever said "Those who can't do teach" obviously never had any good teachers, because teachers are so crucial and vital to kids' development, intellectual growth and of course, EDUCATION.

Why I learn languages

Just me, my friends and Putin's interpretor. Standard school trip.

There were two trips to Moscow and St. Petersburg, which really reinforced how amazing, cool and fascinating learning a language is. One, we got to go to Moscow and St. Petersburg, which in itself was amazing (although it was intimidating for us young'uns). But two, we actually got to use the little Russian we had learnt and put it into practise. It made revising the locative case for the millionth time worth it.

For anyone wondering, I went to your bog-standard state comprehensive. But it was such a great school, and the teachers were great at organising trips. It's particularly testament, considering how much paperwork and red tape there is to organise a school trip.

Learning a language is so, so, so, so much more than your GCSE or A Level grade and this is one thing that the English education system gets so wrong. Whilst grammar and knowing vocabulary about global warming, immigration, and youth unemployment is important, languages are all about communication.

The fact that you get to break down the language barrier and talk to someone that you otherwise wouldn't have is incredible. Even though, at times, speaking a foreign language is one of the most excruciatingly embarrassing experiences, it is also an exhilarating one, when you master it, or even make that one small step, such as ordering a drink at a café, or asking someone for directions.

Learning languages is great. It enhances your travels and you get to meet people worldwide.
Learning languages has given me the opportunity to travel and meet friends from all over the world (cheesy and cringey but true)

I really wish the advantages, benefits and the beauty (cringe) of learning languages were emphasised more. I can't even begin to tell you how much it has enhanced my life. It's given me more opportunity to travel, I've met new friends, and the best thing about languages is that you are constantly learning something every day, even if you're completely fluent (still got a way to go yet). It gives you that needed drive to carry on learning, improving and developing your knowledge of language(s).

Third Year Abroad are currently running an initiative along with the British Council called "Inspire a Class". The "Inspire a Class" is all about showing secondary school pupils (ages 14-18) how you can use your languages and more importantly, it's to inspire them to learn languages themselves. If you want to get involved, check out the Third Year Abroad article for more details. Whilst you're at it, use the #inspireaclass on social media to spread the word.

Why do you learn languages? Which is your favourite?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Spending the Puente in Jardín, Antioquia

The beautiful pueblo of Jardin in Antioquia is the perfect weekend trip from Medellin.

Way back in January, just before returning to Colombia, I made a non-exhaustive list of the many different places in Colombia I wanted to visit. I also made myself a, for once, reasonable new year's resolution of visiting three new places in Colombia this year.

I'm pleased to say that this is one new year's resolution I've kept (and a few others).

I've been to Capurganá and Sapzurro, Bogotá and Parque Tayrona. I've also got a cheeky trip to San Andrés lined up next week. And hopefully, fingers crossed, hopefully, I'll make it to Chocó to see the migrating humpback whales too.

I have in fact SMASHED that new year's resolution. Although the motivation of more travel was never going to be a hard resolution to keep.

A few weekends back, for one of June's THREE bank holidays (it makes your eyes water to think that the UK has the same amount in a whole year) me and my friend Cata headed to Jardín, a pueblo in Antioquia three and a half hours away from the hustle and bustle of Medellín. It's perfect fodder for a weekend trip.

The little town lives for the weekend, when everyone migrates from the cities for a change of scenery (which is just so GREEN). The life and soul of the town is in the main square, or the parque principal, and daytime or night time, there's always something going on. If hunger strikes, you can grab some typical Colombian fare, such as butifarra (little pork sausages), chorizo, arepas de choclo (sweetcorn patties) or obleas with arequipe (wafers with milk caramel) from the many little carts on the square.

The best thing to do in the daytime is to grab a cup of amazing, and cheap coffee ($800 COP for a cup of black coffee) at the De Los Andes café which has a balcony overlooking the square. You can people watch to your heart's content there.

La catedral de Jardín, Antioquia, Colombia

At night time, you can grab a bottle of beer, aguardiente or rum and hang out in the park, or you can listen to old-school Colombian classics and reggaeton (so I was in my element) in the cantinas, accompanied with drinks, popcorn and mango biche. You can even gaupe at the fact that people park their horses outside the bars and try your best to avoid getting in their path, when crossing the street.

After a night out, dancing in the cantinas, we got up bright and early to tackle the trek to the Cueva del Esplendor. With neither of us being huge horse fans, we did the trek on foot, which involved us having to climb up at one point. We even dared to dip in the ice-cold water, which after a while, after you felt like your body would go into cardiac arrest, turned out to quite refreshing.

La vista del carro en Jardín, Antioquia
Otra vista de Jardín, Antioquia, Colombia
Las flores coloridas y bonitas en Jardín, Antioquia, Colombia
La vista del paisaje cerca de Jardín, Antioquia, Colombia
El rio que va para la cueva del esplendor, Jardín, antioquia, Colombia
La Cueva del Esplendor, Jardín, Antioquia, Colombia

Whilst the Cueva del Esplendor is an impressive sight, with a waterfall flowing into a cave, the best time to admire it in all its glory, probably wasn't one of the busiest public holidays of the year. Still, the walk was worth it, and it worked out all the sins from the night before and then some.

We were in fact so knackered after the walk, that all we managed to do was to walk into town, get some tasty pizza at Café Europa (just a few blocks away from the parque principal) and hop in a tuk-tuk back to our hostel.

We stayed at the Hostal Selva y Café, which was quite a trek out of town. We would have probably gone for somewhere closer to town, had it not been the bank holiday weekend. To get there, it was either a 45 minute walk, or a 10-15 minute tuk-tuk ride which would usually cost around $6000 per trip.

El motoratón en jardín, antioquia, ColombiaEn la quebrada al lado del hostal selva y café, Jardín, Antioquia, Colombia

However, the far-location did have a few compensations, being right slap bang in the middle of nature, so you could really take advantage of the city escape. And it was right next to a stream, which we decided to dip in, before heading back to Medellín.  The far-out location however, did mean I fell victim to being eaten alive by bugs. Bring all the repellent you can find, if you come to Jardín, make sure you learn from my mistakes.

Aside from my unwanted mosquito souvenirs, I can't believe it has taken me this long to explore more of Antioquia's countryside. I forgot how much I missed seeing greenery and having a whole weekend away from the city did wonders. If you're around in Medellin and want a countryside escape, Jardín has a lot to offer.The best thing is you don't even have to do a lot, you can sit in the main square, have a cup of coffee, maybe even treat yourself to a slice of cake, sit back and enjoy.

Or you can take advantage of the lovely countryside too, but whatever floats your boat.

How to get to Jardín: Get the bus (about $18,000COP) from the terminal del sur. It's around three and a half hours' journey.

Where to Stay in Jardín: We stayed at the Hostal Selva y Café. Dorm beds are $35,000 COP per person, with breakfast included. There's also Hotel La Casona, which is a block away from the main square. It's a red and white building and has twin/double private rooms for $55,000 COP per person, with breakfast included.

Where are your favourite countryside escapes? Have you been to Jardín?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Basic Paisa Spanish Phrases and Expressions

Hello, it's been a while, hasn't it?

Life here in Medellin has been crazy-busy - I've had more work than I've ever had before (not complaining), I've been trying to see and do as much as possible (again not complaining) and I've been trying to learn as much Spanish as possible. 

The thing I find absolutely fascinating about Colombia is, like the UK, each region and city has its own accent and slang. I've always loved accents and regional slang - it's a very rich and revealing way to express yourself and show your identity. 

That being said, I have struggled with some regional accents (sorry costeños) and the slang is not the most logical to say the least. Although, which slang is east to pick up?

I may have already said it, but here in Medellín, paisas (Medellín locals) have a very distinct accent and vocabulary.

Luckily, for Spanish learners, paisas generally speak slowly and enunciate, which is great because it's already hard enough without having to guess what the word is with only 2 of the 4 syllables pronounced.

There are, however, two particularities about the paisa accent:

The ll and y sound are pronounced like a soft j/g (according to Wikipedia, the sound is called a yeísmo). It's similar to the Argentinian pronunciation for the same sound, although that's more like a sh sound. So in place of the usual Meh-dey-yin, for Medellín, here it's pronounced Meh-dey-jin. Likewise, ayer in Medellín is pronounced ah-jer instead of ah-yer.

Like in Argentina (is there a link?), a lot of paisas will use vos instead of tú. The conjugations are different so that's something to look out for. Because I'm a bad student I haven't particularly learnt the vos conjugations, but it might be something to look up, if you fancy it.

So, now I've gone over the basics of the Medellín accent, here are some basic paisa expressions:

¿Qué más pues?

¿Qué más? is a phrase used throughout Colombia. But, the use of the pues at the end of the phrase is distinctly paisa. Pues is the verbal tick equivalent of North-Easterners (England) using like. If you want to try your hand at blending in as a local, using pues every now and then is a good start.

¡Qué chimba/cuca!

If you're familiar with the Spanish language, you may know that the above also mean vagina. But here in Medellín, to say something is una chimba/cuca also means something is cool. For example, if someone were to ask you how your weekend was:

"¿Cómo te fue el finde?" You could reply, "Fue una chimba" if it was a great weekend.

To describe something is cool, you can something is una chimba de... . So for example, if you're in a cool house, it's una chimba de casa, a great party could be una chimba de rumba and so forth.

¡Qué gonorrea!

In similar guise, to say something is negative/bad/shit, you say "¡Qué gonorrea!" Yes, I know what you're thinking - this has to be a joke, right? When my friends first told me this, I did too, soon after they told me, I've heard it frequently ever since.

My second thought is that why gonorrhoea, when there is a wide selection of STIs, but I think it's a good word to vent your anger out. There's a lot of hard, harsh sounds (for Spanish) as well as a cheeky rolled r, so it makes it very anger-friendly venting material. A lot like when you drop the c bomb. Love it or hate it, it's a good word to release anger.


If someone refers to you as a parce in Medellín, it is the equivalent of calling someone a mate or dude in English. If you're a girl, you may be referred to as a parcera and if there's a group of you, you'll be parceros.

I've been told two stories as to why parce came to be.

1. That it has its origins from Brazilian soldiers who were based in the Amazon rainforest. They would call each other parceiro and it's somehow arrived in Medellín.

2. That it has its origins from the gringo drug mules in the seventies and eighties who misheard the word, I think, parné (cash), for parce, and so it came to be.

My inkling is that it's more likely to have originated from the first theory, but it's interesting to find out the theories of how words and slang came to be.


Similar to parce, and the two are probably linked, a parche is used to describe a casual hanging out with friends. You can also use the verb parchar to "hang out" too.

For example, "Vamos a parchar esta tarde" would mean we're going to hang out this afternoon.

If your social life is somewhat lacking, working 24/7 or you've been cooped up in the house watching Netflix all day, you could say, estoy desparchado/a.

¡No me chimbies!

It has a few different contexts. The most-used context is an equivalent to the standard Spanish no me molesta or the colloquial English, stop pissing me off.

It could also be the equivalent of you're kidding or you're joking. But it's quite a hard expression to find a fitting translation of.

I'll leave it there for now as I've waffled on for long enough. Paisa Spanish is a rich and fascinating slang, like all colloquial language, so I'm sure I'll write up another post with more Paisa expressions in the near future.

Which Paisa Spanish expressions would you add to the list? Which Spanish slang is your favourite?