My Spanish minor is one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my undergraduate career, and it continues to reap benefits in my professional and personal development. In order to experience all of the benefits that learning a foreign-language can offer, you have to make the most of your opportunities. Study abroad – I cannot begin to describe how much I treasure my semester in Barcelona (and two trips back since). I developed lifelong friends, gained a strong appreciation for a culture other than my own, and bridged the gap between being a student of Spanish and a speaker of Spanish. Practice whenever you can – have a Spanish-only rule with your classmates and professors, order your burrito in Spanish, volunteer to help the customer or client with limited English, find an international pen pal, or eat at the Mesa Hispana! These are all ways I have maintained confidence in my speaking and writing abilities.
I am currently conducting parenting research for my master’s degree in psychology. It is such a blessing to communicate with the several Hispanic mothers in my parenting class in the language that makes them comfortable. As I transition to a Ph.D. program in Fall 2015, I look forward to further utilizing my Spanish to expand my clinical outreach.
Hi, my name is Laura Hasemeyer, and I graduated from Westmont as a Spanish major in 2010. College is for memories, friends, and learning to live away from home. But I want to encourage you to soak up as much knowledge as you possibly can about something you enjoy - additional schooling is expensive, and college is the best time in life to learn.
At my first job we often had Spanish-speaking callers. Being bilingual allowed me to handle all of these customers, and gave me a leg up on being hired. I have also used Spanish to communicate with neighbors who don't speak English, and during an around-the-world trip I took this past year with my husband. I am grateful for my wonderful professors and the opportunity to learn something that I love at Westmont.
I came into Westmont knowing that I had a passion for Spanish but without much further direction. Through my Spanish classes and my stay abroad in Querétaro, Mexico, I was given more to love about the Spanish language and hispanic culture that continues to shape my life. My Spanish literature professors exposed me to stories and novels that make statements about human nature and hispanic culture alike. As a Christian, I have found it to be an important skill to practice reading the literature and studying the culture of people from around the world in order to better inform my understanding of humankind as God's creation. I will carry these lessons as well as relationships with professors and friends in the Spanish department at Westmont with me as I head to U.C. Davis this fall to obtain my Master's and continue studying Latin American literature.
Spanish and Business & Economics Majors
Westmont College, Class of 2013
As of April of 2014, I’m working in San Diego, California as Operations Manager at Rock Church, attended by 16,000+ every Sunday. I work closely with Senior Pastor Miles McPherson, managing bookings for his internal and external speaking engagements as well as his travel itinerary.
My recommendation to current Spanish students is to get to know the faculty. My reasons are threefold:
First, they’re some of the most knowledgeable scholars in the world in their field. I have yet to work a job where Spanish hasn’t both played a role in my hiring and been put to use on the job, so their instruction has been invaluable.
Second, they’re faithful and devoted believers, pursuing knowledge and understanding as a tool to know God and glorify Him, and using education as a means to impart that into our generation.
And third, they’re some of the wisest and kindest people I know, and they taught me as much about life as they did anything else. Having lived with Dr. Elias’ family for a semester, worked closely with Dr. Cardoso on a special project, and traveled Mexico with Dr. Docter during my time on WIM, I can confidently say I got to know each of them well. The conversations we had, and the personal disciplines that I observed in each of them, have contributed significantly to my understanding of macro concepts like my relationship with God and gender roles in our society, as well as micro items such as my ability to listen, the discipline of self-sacrifice, and how to live a tangible, authentic, and relevant faith in Jesus Christ as a graduate.
Since graduating in 1997, I have worked in the non-profit sector with a small, international ministry that took hope to the world's abandoned children and women, attended law school at the University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder (Class of 2001), and launched into a productive and rewarding career in the area of agricultural law for the Colorado Office of the Attorney General.
Knowing and continuing to study French has given me the personal reward of living and traveling in France while cultivating and maintaining life-long friendships with French people. Studying a foreign language taught me more than how to speak in that language, though. Understanding a foreign tongue allows me to perceive the complexities of cultural differences and the unique gifts of cultural diversity in both work and travel. The study of language blessed me with a desire and an ability to see, hear, and even to tell the story through the eyes of another person.
To my friends at Westmont who persevere in their modern language studies, I say: "Soyez braves et forts." The richness and depth of the gift you receive will pay itself back in dividends throughout your life.