Coming into college, I knew I wanted to continue taking Spanish to keep up my language skills, but didn’t expect to become a Hispanic Studies major. This changed from the very first class I enrolled in, a Freshman Seminar with Professor Cate-Arries. I saw that a major in Hispanic Studies would do much more than just improve my Spanish. I had the opportunity to engage critically with a variety of subjects from literature to history to politics to cinema. As a freshman, the class was a challenging one, but each day I was encouraged by a professor who pushed me to produce the very best work I was capable of. This class was indicative of a future that held many more hours of engaging material taught by professors who not only cared deeply about their subjects, but also their students.
One of the most transformative experiences of my college career was studying for a semester in Seville, Spain. Immersing myself in a new culture was both challenging and exhilarating. I pushed my own boundaries of language use and said yes to as many new opportunities as could from volunteering at a local pool, to running a nighttime 10k with thousands of Spaniards in neon orange shirts, to traveling around Spain solo. I gained a deep appreciation for paella and a serious case of the travel bug, but more importantly a sense of confidence and independence that I have carried with me since. I am immensely grateful for my time in the Hispanic Studies department that has allowed me to grow not only as a student, but also as an individual.