A Love for Language

You would think that a Biology major’s favorite class would be something having to do with science: maybe Cell Biology, Marine Science, or even Geology. That just isn’t the case. My true favorite subject has always been Spanish. I’ve had so many great teachers and amazing learning experiences throughout my time learning this language. 

empty classroom with wooden chairs and desks Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash

I am a fast learner, and as soon as I started taking my first Spanish class in fourth grade, I picked up the vocabulary fairly quickly. Throughout elementary and middle school, my teachers did their best to make learning fun, and I started to actually look forward to class. There was a heavy workload, but it was always the first homework I did as soon as I got home. I did like my science classes, but there was just so much enthusiasm from my Spanish teachers to share their love for language with my peers and me. We explored the cultures of South American countries, celebrated traditional holidays, and gave presentations on Latinx artists and musicians. 

By the time I got to high school, I was already in advanced Spanish classes. I was a little nervous to be in class with sophomores and juniors, but my teacher made me feel like I belonged. She made it a point to know every student as a person, rather than just a pupil, and wanted us to share her excitement for travel, culture, and learning. My favorite part of her class was an end of the semester potluck, where we made holiday treats from a specific Spanish-speaking country and gave a small presentation about Christmas traditions of the Southern hemisphere. It wasn’t just a class about learning grammar and verb tenses, it shaped my respect and appreciation for the rich histories, values, and customs of other countries and civilizations. Spanish class also made me realize how young the United States is, and our development of culture is nowhere near as deep or beautiful as the heritage of these countries. It really put the world into perspective. 

World globe Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

My Spanish professors in college could be described in one word: incredible. In just three semesters, I built a strong relationship with them, and found myself interacting with them like I would an advisor. All my teachers had a love for language, but this was so much more than that. My professors had been immersed in the cultures of Spanish-speaking cultures for many years, as they had actually lived in these countries for a time, and continued to travel back to them to meet with old friends. A few times, they even brought in food for us, including tamales and Mazapan de la Rosa candies from local authentic shops. They didn’t want me to just learn language, they wanted me to know it. 

I really do like science, but because of my teachers and professors, I will always love language. I now have so much awe and respect for not only the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries, but all countries and civilizations that have such deep roots, strong heritage, and amazing traditions. Without my fantastic teachers and professors, I may never have continued on my path to learning Spanish as long as I did, so I am so grateful for all the work they put into class every single day. They didn’t just teach me to enjoy learning a different language, they taught me to enjoy learning in general, and I simply can’t thank them enough!