by ,Catherine Russo a member of the SkillCorps® Czech Republic February 2019 team

Learning, studying, and teaching applied behavior analysis can prove to be quite difficult. Studying is mandatory, learning specific definitions and phrases are crucial, and teaching ABA to others can sometimes feel like teaching a foreign language.

As I walked into my first day at ABA Centrum in Czech Republic, I tried to quickly go over every definition and teaching strategy in my head.  I crossed the threshold into the conference room and quickly realized only 2 people at the center spoke English. My well-laid plans dissipated.  Teaching ABA in a foreign language became a reality.  

I was determined to make this language barrier a learning opportunity, a new way to think and create. I gradually remember feeling more excited and less apprehensive, as everyone at the center was so eager to learn and collaborate.

I think that language barriers can seem so negative, a massive lack of understanding between cultures, people, and ideas. When in turn, language barriers can be broken down so quickly, by facial expressions, laughter, tone of voice, and simple trial and error. 

Being open to the challenge instead of shutting down the opportunity is what has made this trip so meaningful.  Through the language barriers, we’ve had to be creative, work harder to understand each other, and come up with different systems that work with different staff.

I’m so excited to see the end product of these past 2 weeks and am looking forward to continuing to create sustainable change during my remaining time!