Name Michael Bigg
Graduation year Spring 2014
Major European History; Classical Civilization
What's your current job?
How does language and culture help you succeed in your career?
I took two languages at ASU: German and Latin. Now neither are major languages in the Phoenix metro area but they have been immensely helpful in thinking logically and understanding a diverse customer base through being open to and interested in learning about other cultures. Furthermore, I just completed a year long paramedic program and having some knowledge of Latin was a great asset in learning medical terminology and physiology. There were moments I was completely lost but I'd understand what the root word in Latin meant and it would help me get on the right path.
Did you study abroad?
If so, can you speak about your experience? I did a study abroad session in 2012 for German. It was one of the best experiences of my life. It is one thing to study the language in a classroom, it is quite another when it is being spoken around you and you immerse yourself in the culture, the history and the daily life of native speakers. Simple things like ordering food become a challenge but also force you to grow more confident in your language skills.
How did ASU and the language program at SILC prepare you for your future?
I've had a lifelong love of history and learning about other cultures but learning a language takes it a step further. Once you begin to understand and think in another language it reveals another layer of a people. Many of the characteristics of a culture are reflected in their language. My second degree, Classical Civilization, went very in depth into the history, politics and literature of the ancient Greeks and Romans and really focused on thinking critically and research. So both degrees and both languages prepared me for the future by appreciating the differences in various cultures, critical thinking and research and in my current field those are all vitally important.
What was your favorite thing about learning a language?
The people, both fellow students and instructors. I met amazing peers and the professors in both the German and Classics departments were fantastic people who really care about student success.
Any advice for current language studies students?
Get involved in the related extracurricular activities. I joined the German club and Solis Diaboli and it is a great way to meet people, get involved and they are terrific resources for tutoring/networking/study groups. Plus they are a lot of fun!