Major Monday – Foreign Languages and Literature

Happy Monday, everyone!  For this week’s Major Monday, we checked in with the wonderful Ms. Gill, another member of our World Languages department.  Ms. Gill teaches upper level Spanish classes and Public Speaking at LC.

1) What was your college major and where did you go to college?

I studied Foreign Languages and Literature (Spanish) at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. I later got my Master of Arts in Teaching from there as well.

2) Was that your original major?  If not, what was your original major and why did you decide to switch?

 

I applied to college as a prospective Environmental Science major.  I had this image in my mind of me traveling the world while doing environmental work, but then I realized that I just want to travel! I had always liked science during high school, but I realized my heart wasn’t in it. When I accepted the fact that science was not for me, I decided to pursue one of my other interests in high school–Spanish.  Around the same time I also decided to pursue teaching.
 

3)  What made you choose your major?

 

I always loved Spanish and languages in general.  I had gone on a trip to Costa Rica in high school and from then on I got the “travel bug”.  Something about the language and culture drew me in.  A degree in a foreign language entails so many things: linguistics, literature, and culture. I liked learning about grammar, but I also loved reading about history and culture, and I got to do all of that with my major.
 

4)  What were your favorite college classes?

 

When I was a senior, I took an independent study with one of my professors and did a research project combining linguistic theory and its practical applications in education and teaching.  It was fun to tie in all the coursework in linguistics I had taken in Spain with ideas from my education courses.  Doing an independent study is not easy.  You have to manage your time well in order to not fall behind and become overwhelmed.  Much of your work is self-directed.  There is no teacher assigning you homework or tests… YOU are the one in charge and YOU are ultimately responsible for your own learning and end-product.
 

5)  What advice would you give to students looking to study your major?

 

Study abroad!!!!! You can’t learn a language and culture in a classroom.  If you can, go for a full year.  You can greatly improve your Spanish in one semester, but you can really master it in a year.  Spain is a great country, and that is where I happened to study abroad, but there are so many other countries rich in language and culture.  Many students go to Spain because it seems that it is what you are supposed to do, but don’t be afraid to branch out and explore Central or South America.  Choose a country and a study abroad program that fits your individual wants and needs.

 

Thank you, Ms. Gill!
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