written by Giana Scattini, YES Participant (USA)

I found a cute little market near my house and decided to go explore. I also wanted to put my newfound language skills to use.

I wandered through the market with confidence as I looked at the surplus of items available for purchase. There was a withered old woman in front of a massive stack of mangoes and I couldn’t resist. After haggling the price down as much as I could, I ended up with three mangoes for about 50php, or roughly $1. Score. I was on a roll. I wandered through the market some more, admiring the little children running around and taking in the fishy smell of the meat section. I found another older woman, surrounded by large bowls of different varieties of peanuts.

I was astounded when I discovered how cheap they were. I couldn’t help myself and I bought 1/2 a kilo of nuts for another 50php, or roughly $1. I had an entire weeks worth of nuts and days worth of mangoes for pocket change in the US. It feels amazing to confidently walk into a foreign market and make purchases using the language skills I have gained since arriving here in the Philippines. Interacting with locals and purchasing local products in a foreign language is what makes exchange so powerful.