Kiri Muamua

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What's your current job?

I'm currently employed as a Claims Representative with the Social Security Administration.

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

I speak Spanish every day in my current job. I also had a fabulous adventure in language and culture in the South Pacific (Samoa) when I served as a Primary School Literacy Volunteer with the US Peace Corps after graduation.

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

I did study abroad as an undergraduate several times. I traveled overseas for the first time when I spent a month in Merida, Mexico through a summer program and later spent a semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I loved the culture in Buenos Aires so much that I decided to complete my Honors Thesis on a socio­political group there, and even had the opportunity to return for a 2nd semester. Study abroad helped me find my passion, which led me to the Peace Corps and will hopefully help me transition to my dream job after I finish my MPA. (I'm enrolled at ASU now too, but have no intentions of keeping a domestic desk job when I'm through!) My dream job would be to work for USAID and continue to experience foreign culture while making a positive impact and helping the neediest (and often most deserving) populations of the world.

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

Learning to speak Spanish took many years, and without SILC I would never have accomplished my goal. It helped me open a lot of doors to communication, and cross­cultural exchange. It helped me develop the skills I needed to learn my 3rd language after graduation (Samoan) and will help me in the future as I add others to my repertoire! 

What was your favorite thing about learning a language?

Learning a language opens new avenues to interpersonal relationships that would otherwise not be possible. The world is abundant and rich with marvels, but without the means to communicate traveling and working abroad would be much more difficult. It's like a passport in and of itself, and it gives you access to a lot of wonderful new things!

­ Any advice for current language studies students?

Stick with it. Learning a language is frustrating because it takes a while before things "click." For a while it seems like you have no hope, then like you can understand but cannot speak, and finally things just fall into place. So don't quit!