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What's your current job?
I am currently a Spanish instructor at Washington State University where I also teach classes about intercultural communication in English.
How does language and culture help you succeed in your career?
It helped me a great deal. In a global economy a second or third language is a skill that opens opportunities for a variety of jobs, from teaching to technology. More than ever, companies are looking for bilingual or trilingual candidates that are able to work across not only geographical but cultural boundaries in order to sell/promote their products be they video games or toasters. Before finding a job in academia, I was hired by Microsoft as a translator for the new X-Box console, a job offer one would not expect to get having majored in languages and cultures.
Did you study abroad? If so, can you speak about your experience?
Actually being at ASU was my experience studying abroad. I’m from Mexico, I got my bachelor’s degree there and I applied for grad school in the US. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I learned many things. The best thing was to have access to resources I’ve never dreamed of, including the professors and the wonderful library at Tempe. I got a better understanding of American culture and improved my English, not to mention that I learned two other languages, Portuguese and French.
How did ASU and the language program at SILC prepare you for your future?
At first I didn’t feel I was being prepared for something big. But once you graduate, start searching for jobs and finally find one, that is when you really come to appreciate all you’ve learned at ASU. After my graduation I worked in China and then WSU and I implemented projects and ideas I learned from my professors at ASU that were innovative. When your boss/supervisor congratulates you for that it’s when you really appreciate all you’ve learned in ASU.
What was your favorite thing about learning a language?
I love languages. I’m able to communicate in four languages and I feel I’ll never stop learning. Every day I am constantly learning not only words or phrases but also about culture, people and experiences. My favorite thing about it is the great chance I have to get to know people from different countries and life experiences; there’s so much to learn from ordinary people and I’m thankful for this opportunity.
Any advice for current language studies students?
I would say that regardless of what you major in, learn a second language, any language. It will be a plus not only in financial or job terms but as a personal experience. To learn a language is to break stereotypes, to have a better understanding of the world and the people we share it with. It will help you to understand other people and, most importantly, your place in the world.