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Armando Salinas

Name Armando Salinas

Graduation year 2016

Major Mathematics

Minor Japanese


What's your current job?

PhD Student under the AMLSS (Applied Mathematics in the Life and Social Sciences) program, here at ASU.

How does language and culture help you succeed in your career?

 Currently, I am starting out as a PhD student in AMLSS. However, I would either like to be a translator or pursue a career in academia in Japan. Language and culture are used all around us, and understanding language and culture will allow us to communicate effectively with the targeted culture. I hope to become fluent in Japanese (as well as become super polite and mannered), that way I can obtain a career in Japan.

Did you study abroad? If so, can you speak about your experience?

 I studied abroad at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan in the Fall of 2014. I was immersed in the culture (i.e. going to Kabuki, eating Japanese food with my host family, living the Japanese student lifestyle) and my Japanese improved (since they did not speak English). It was arguably one of best moments of time in my life since my dream was to go to Japan. I now have a new dream; to return to Japan. 

How did ASU and the language program at SILC prepare you for your future?

ASU, as well as the language program at SILC, gave me the tools necessary to communicate (as well as read) effectively in Japanese. Furthermore, they gave me a “foot in the doorstep” for careers in Japan. This is because Japanese culture heavily values “in-group” and “out-group” statuses, and I am now a part of the Nanzan University “in-group.” So I can use this to my advantage, thanks to ASU, as well as SILC. 

What was your favorite thing about learning a language?

My favorite thing about learning a language is learning the framework behind the language. This includes how they construct grammar, as well as what they prioritize. For instance, Japanese culture values harmony. However, this harmony leads to “reading in-between the lines” and indirect comments to avoid conflict in social situations. As a student learning Japanese, I must learn to pick up on these social cues, which I find fascinating. Perhaps, it's better to say that I enjoy language because language invokes culture.

 Any advice for current language studies students?

Make sure to think in the languages framework. I say this because not thinking in the language framework leads to direction translations. And if there is one thing I am strongly against, it is direct translations. There is not always a direct translation for phrases (especially idioms) in English to the targeted language.

 Thinking in the language's framework promotes creativity and will make learning the language that much easier.