Hello! Hola! Salut! Hallo! Ciao! Дравствуй! Laura Celedon ‘19 has traveled to 41 countries and 39 states and has a huge passion for learning about languages and cultures. You can often find Laura in Spanish, French, German, Italian and Russian clubs and tables. She hopes to use languages to fight food injustice after graduation.
Name: Laura Celedon
Hometown: Wexford, PA
Majors: Italian Studies and French & Francophone Studies
Minors: Russian and Anthropology, Food Studies Certificate
Extracurricular Activities: Spanish, French, German, Italia, and Russian clubs and language tables, Dickinson Christian Fellowship, Praise Team, Catholic Campus Ministry, Global Gastronomy Club, W.I.N.D. (We Introduce Nations at Dickinson), CS3 (Center for Service, Spirituality, and Social Justice)
Hobbies: Blogging, Writing, Traveling, Cooking
HC: How many languages can you speak?
LC: I am a native Spanish and English speaker and I have always been brought up bilingually. As a child, I had the privilege of going to a bilingual elementary school in which I had all of my core subjects in both languages. I am close to reaching fluency in French and can comfortably speak with native speakers German and Italian. I am also an intermediate learner of Russian at Dickinson. My goal is to become a hyperpolyglot, which is someone who speaks six or more languages fluently. I would say that growing up bilingually has allowed me to have a deeper connection to my Colombian heritage and to understand the world around me through different lenses.
HC: What do you love about language?
LC: There are many aspects about language that interest me, however, what I love most is the ability to reach people’s hearts when you speak to them in their native languages. I also have a language blog called Switching Languages. In a post on my blog, I share a bit of what language means to me: “Language is what I look forward to as soon as I get up in the morning and before I fall asleep at night. It is what keeps me motivated and what gives me drive in everything into which I put my energy and in everything that I want to accomplish.”
HC: When did you become interested in studying language and different cultures?
LC: I became interested in studying languages and different cultures relatively recently. I would say that a spark hit when I was a sophomore in high school. Even though my parents recommended that I take a business course, I insisted that I take the first level of German, which was the first foreign language that I learned from scratch. It only took a few months before I decided to study languages as more than just a hobby.
HC: What do you plan to do with your studies?
LC: Soon after graduation, I hope to work at an international organization whose main focus is on social justice issues. Ideally, I would work at a sector that focused on food injustice issues domestically and abroad with a focus on minoring and underrepresented groups of various populations including women, children, immigrants and refugees.
HC: How did you know what you wanted to study?
LC: Ever since I was little, my family [instilled in me] a love for traveling and learning about the world around us. Before college, I knew that I wanted to have a global focus in whatever I ended up studying with a particular focus on languages.I became interested in Anthropology after taking a course called Cultural Anthropology at a nearby community college during my senior year of high school. Ever since then, I have taken several Anthropology courses and especially love the ethnographic approach to understanding about individuals who are different than you and other cultures.
HC: How is Dickinson helping you to achieve your goals?
LC: Dickinson has helped me achieve my goals, because it offers many opportunities for students to actively practice their languages and learn more about other cultures.
HC: Do you plan on studying abroad?
LC: Yes! Next fall I am planning on studying abroad in Bologna, Italy and hope to do an independent study with an Italian professor that I had last semester. My hope is to interview recent immigrants and refugees in the Bologna area to ask them how [moving] to Italy has allowed them to, or prevented them from being accepted into a new culture.