Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Amelia Eppard is a senior majoring in Marketing with a concentration in Spanish. She is also a member of the Phi Sigma Iota honor society.  After graduation, she is planning to take a gap year to teach English in Spain, where she will be able to immerse herself in the culture and learn valuable skills (plus enjoy their delectable desserts and coffees).

Amelia wrote this piece about her experiences learning Spanish, and a very young teacher she met while volunteering in a local school.

Gracias, Luis
Por Amelia Eppard

El proceso de aprender un idioma puede ser frustrante, y había veces cuando quería rendirme. Aprender un idioma requiere mucha paciencia, muchas horas de leer, y muchas actividades de verbos. Pero, la satisfacción no está en las clases de español o francés, o italiano. La está en los momentos simples, pequeños, y bonitos en la vida. Para mí, este momento ocurrió con un niño de 6 años. 

Ahora, soy una voluntaria en una escuela de Rhode Island. Muchas de los estudiantes necesitan ayudan con su inglés o su español porque ellos son de familias hispanohablantes. En la clase de primero grado, hay un niño pequeño se llama Luis. Luis no puede hablar inglés y por eso, él es muy tímido y no tiene mucha confianza. Sin embargo, Luis se convirtió en un amigo mío. Cada martes y jueves, cuando yo voy a la escuela, Luis tiene una voz un poco más alta. Cada vez, Luis está más emocionado y quiere mi ayuda. Le he enseñado las matemáticas y le he dicho que “Repita estas palabras en inglés.” Me importa mucha nuestra amistad y antes de esta experiencia, no sabía que un niño de 6 años puede ensenarme en una manera tan especial e imprescindible. 

Luis es mi razón para continuar este viaje a fluidez. El proceso de aprender es gratificante solo si puede usar el conocimiento en una manera impactante. Espero que cada estudiante de un idioma pueda encontrar su propio Luis. Doy muchas gracias a mi maestro pequeño. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Nellie Gorbea, RI Secretary of State, visited Bryant on Wednesday September 21st

Thank you to the the PwC Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Intercultural Center for sponsoring the visit by Nellie Gorbea, RI Secretary of State, to Bryant. Many Bryant students, including Katie Nugent, attended the event. Katie's observations are below.

This past Wednesday, Nellie Gorbea, Rhode Island’s Secretary of State, came to Bryant to speak about her experiences in politics as a Latina. She spoke about her transition into her political role and why she decided she wanted to represent the state of Rhode Island. She discussed the small percentage of latino politicians in American society today and how she was the first Latina to win a state office position in New England. She stressed the importance of millennials taking part in the upcoming election and encouraged students to get involved in whatever field they desire or somehow give back to their community. Gorbea emphasized her willingness to listen to everyone’s perspective in order to improve everyone’s well being in Rhode Island.

During her term in office, Gorbea has pushed the implementation of new technology in the voting systems. At this event, her passion and work ethic was apparent as she spoke about why she thought it is important to improve our current system. Overall, this was a very positive learning experience and influenced me to have more of a presence in my community and to also take advantage of my vote in this upcoming election.

Katie Nugent is a sophomore who is business undecided with a minor in Spanish. She is a member of the women’s soccer team and has recently joined a public speaking club on campus to get involved in the Bryant community. This winter, Katie will be traveling to Argentina and Chile on the Sophomore International Experience trip and is looking forward to take advantage of this great learning opportunity.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bryant Spanish faculty member, Profe Heather Moon, writes about her travels to Argentina and Chile this summer

This past August I had the opportunity to travel to Mendoza, Argentina and Viña del Mar, Chile representing the Office of Study Abroad and the Department of Modern Languages at Bryant.

Viña del Mar
In Viña del Mar I visited with Bryant students who are currently studying at the Universidad Adolf Ibañez as part of the International Business customized study abroad program, in partnership with the study abroad provider API. It was a wonderful experience to see many of my former students (and several that I met for the first time!), now living and working in Chile. All the students are living with host families, taking classes at UAI and interning at local businesses, where they are able to use their Spanish language skills and to gain valuable business and cultural knowledge.
Bryant students and Profe Moon outside the Museo Fonck in Viña del Mar  
I impressed to see...and hear...how much they have learned in their time abroad. At the time of my visit, the students had only been in Chile for a month and already I could hear them speaking better Spanish, and understanding the language and culture around them. I can only imagine how much more they will improve before the return to Bryant at the end of this semester!

We all went out to dinner, with the students choosing an authentic Chilean restaurant with absolutely delicious food for our meal.

Patel de Choclo

I also toured the university UAI, the cities of Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, and visited one of the local companies where a Bryant student is interning. While only there for 3 days, I left with a wonderful impression of the program and the area. The views of the bay, and the twin cities with their wonderful contrasts, the beach just steps away all made it quite clear by this area is one of the major tourist destinations in Chile.
Profe Moon in Viña

The hillside houses of Valparaiso

The view of Viña del Mar and Valparaiso from UAI

I also visited Mendoza, Argentina to evaluate whether or not that city would be a good place for Bryant students to study. Yes, it definitely is! Nestled alongside the Andes, Mendoza is a small, very friendly city in the heart of the Argentine wine country.

Sunset in Mendoza, with the Andes in the distance.

API runs a wonderful program there, and I was able to visit the Universidad de Congreso and several businesses where students could intern, including Bodega Cecchin and the media company Medios Uno, which houses print, digital, television and radio media all in one location. While entirely different companies and industries, both locations would provide Bryant students with high quality internships.
Bodega Cecchin

We ate lunch at Bodega Cecchin, which included some delicious empenadas

During our visit to Medios Uno, we were interviewed about the collaboration between Universidad de Congreso, API, and Bryant for an article that came out in their newspaper, Diaro Uno, which you can read here. (None of us were expecting to be interviewed as we thought we were just visiting the media company....guess we should have known that good reporters can't resist finding a good news story!)
Plaza Independencia on a Sunday afternoon

When I wasn't working, I had the opportunity to be a tourist in Mendoza and to observe a bit of the culture. From having a coffee and people watching at a sidewalk cafe or walking through the many city parks, and enjoying the culinary richness the city had to offer, I had a wonderful time!

Coffee, a necessity when traveling.
The Italian influences on Argentine cuisine are plentiful, from gelato to pizza to pasta.

When my study abroad visits were done, I spent 24 hours in Santiago, Chile. While not nearly enough time to truly get to know the city, I stayed in the Bella Vista area and made the most of my time by visiting one of Pablo Neruda's three Chilean homes, La Chascona, Cerro San Cristobal with its amazing views of the city, and visiting the many local shops and restaurants. I also took a 3 hour walk early Sunday morning through the Parque Forestral (along with half of Santiago who were out for a morning run), up to the top of Cerro Santa Lucia, and to many of the historical buildings of Santiago, including La Monda and Plaza de Armas. And of course, there was plenty of time for food and coffee.

La Chascona

Gran Torre Santiago with the Andes in the background

Early Sunday morning, taken from Cerro Santa Lucia

How Chilean....a bit of avocado on my morning toast (along with the required coffee)!

Palacio La Moneda, the Presidential residence

Monday, April 25, 2016

Jackie Lamirande: a graduating senior shares her experiences as a Spanish major

The following is an excerpt from the speech that Jackie Lamirande made at the Modern Language Award Ceremony on April 20, 2016.  Jackie is a senior with double-major in Marketing and Spanish. She also studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain. Jackie also represented the Spanish program on the Dean's Advisory Council.

Professor Houston and Jackie

I have found through my limited professional experience so far that the world has become more global than ever before and a second language is key to most professional careers. Many students graduate from Bryant University with a business degree and when entering the job market they are going up against thousands of other business students with their same qualifications. I believe that is where learning a second language is key. Business is becoming global from large corporations down to family companies and employers know this which is why I believe knowledge of a second language is what will set you apart from the thousands of other seniors in college graduating with a business degree.

I have found from waitressing in a restaurant, to my internship this past year at AAA that I have used Spanish in so many different facets of my life. I am a double major in marketing and Spanish and I have personally found that the pairing of a double Spanish major has opened up more doors for me than I could have ever imagined. I started off as a minor in Spanish, then moved up to a concentration, when going abroad I spoke with Professor Moon who showed me ways to work my schedule while in Spain so I could have enough credits to possibly double major, that way my Spanish concentration would not be finished when I returned and I would still be able to practice and improve on my language skills. Within two times in her office I was sold (be careful though, she’s very convincing). In Spain I saw how much my Spanish was improving and I wanted to try as hard as I possibly could to become fluent to expand the opportunities I currently had, it was one of the best decisions of my life.

On every interview I have gone on since my time at Bryant University I have been asked two questions that I believe help me stand apart from other Marketing candidates, one about my study abroad experience and one regarding my double major in Spanish. Employers seem to be impressed by the knowledge of a second language and it has helped me professionally in many ways. While at my internship for AAA Northeast I was able to assist Spanish members with questions and concerns they may have, I also spoke with our Spanish speaking members during professional events, and my supervisor and manager considered my second language to be a major asset to our team.

My double Spanish major gave me the opportunity to do a directed study which gave me the freedom to do research in Spanish on a topic that I had a particular interest with. In my directed study I was able to merge my interests in marketing with my interests in Spanish to do a research project on the differences in what resonates with Hispanics versus other consumers in advertising campaigns and why companies should be advertising to Hispanic consumers. I found that looking at advertising campaigns specifically targeted at Hispanics doing research on what resonates well with Hispanics was my passion. My knowledge in this field also gained me the opportunity to work as a consultant for AAA on their initiatives for their 2016 Hispanic marketing campaign, which at such a young age was an incredible opportunity. The double major in Spanish has given me direction in my marketing degree and I know now that getting into my career I would eventually love to get into a role where I can use my knowledge from my research to help a company create a marketing campaign targeted toward Hispanics. The Spanish department at Bryant is incredible with professors that will give you the advice and attention you need to succeed, they go above and beyond for their students and I could not have had a more positive experience.
Jackie and Profe Moon

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spanish Award Winners at Modern Language Award Ceremony 2016

The Department of Modern Languages annually recognizes outstanding student achievement in a variety of areas. The award recipients for Spanish for 2016 are:

Intellectual Entrepreneur: Jackie Lamirande
Language Mastery: Jacob Jansen
Cultural Ambassador: Harlyn Juarez
Social Entrepreneur: Randie Almonte
Academic Achievement: Lexi Zafonte and Maggie Goreczny
(along with Profesores Houston, Gomez and Moon)


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Spanish Majors and Concentrators Present at REDay

Three students presented independent research conducted as part of their Directed Studies in Spanish at the 5th annual Bryant University REDay (Research and Engagement Day) today.

Jacob Jansen and Jackie Lamirande presented jointly on The Latino Impact on Marketing, Business, and Presidential Politics. Jacob is a senior with a double-major in International Business and Spanish with a concentration in Finance. He studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain and is a member of Phi Sigma Iota national foreign language honor society. Jackie is a senior with double-major in Marketing and Spanish. She also studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain. Jackie also represents the Spanish program on the Dean's Advisory Council.

Here is their session summary:  A collaborative effort between Jacob Jansen and Jaclyn Lamirande, each student will present independent research conducted as part of their respective directed studies. Both research projects revolve around the emergence and integration of the U.S. Latino population into the broader American society. The study conducted by Jacob focuses primarily on the Latino impact on the U.S. presidential elections, whereas the study completed by Jaclyn encompasses an analysis of the Latino population and relevant marketing strategies and implications.

Jordan Capleton is a senior with a major in Marketing and a concentration in Spanish. His presentation on The Current State and Future Projections of Gender Roles in the Spanish- Speaking World focused primarily on the country of Guinea Ecuatorial, a country that is traditionally understudied in many curriculums, and its fusion of colonial Spanish and African influences.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

An Interview with two Spanish Majors: Tony Carabina ´15 and Claire Denault ´15

Recently Profe Moon (Lecturer in Spanish and Faculty Advisor for Phi Sigma Iota) had the opportunity to interview two recent graduates, Tony Carabina ’15 and Claire Denault ’15

Tony (center) and Claire (right) at the Modern Language Award Ceremony 2015, with fellow classmate Tayla Benoit '15 (left).

Tony completed a major in Spanish, an Concentration in Literary and Cultural Studies and a double minor in Business Administration and Legal Studies. Tony was President of Bryant’s chapter of the Phi Sigma Iota foreign language honor society his senior year, served as the Spanish representative to the Dean’s Advisory Council, and studied abroad in Granada, Spain. Tony was awarded the Department of Modern Language’s Commencement Award in 2015. Tony is currently working as a Sales Associate in the Men’s Clothing and Furnishing department at Nordstrom’s in Natick, MA.

Claire was a double major in Literary and Cultural Studies and Spanish, with a double minor in Business Administration and Latin American Studies. Claire also studied abroad in Granada, Spain, served as Vice President of Bryant’s chapter of the Phi Sigma Iota foreign language honor society her junior and senior years, and was recognized with an award for Academic Achievement in Spanish. Claire is currently a Spanish Teacher at LaSalle Academy in Providence, RI.

1. What are your favorite memories of being a Spanish major at Bryant? What are your least favorite memories? 

Claire: Being a Spanish major at Bryant is full of wonderful memories and I always had a lot of fun in my classes. I made some great friends and loved being able to serve as VP of Phi Sigma Iota for two years, working with Profe Moon and with Tony. I also became really close with my fellow Spanish classmates as the small class sizes allowed and encouraged me to interact with them in a variety of contexts- from discussing history to culture to film and literature. I loved taking courses that focused on film and literature and being able to delve purposefully into real cultural texts. It’s hard to narrow down my four years to a few select memories – almost every class was a positive experience. My least favorite memory? Graduating! ;)

Tony: My favorite memories include my directed study! That was obviously one of the best experiences at Bryant. Being able to study and develop skills around something that was tailored specifically for me was great and something many other universities may not allow or even push as hard as Bryant did with it. I think another great memory was in one of my classes (I never can remember the names of them!)- it was the one with me, Nikki, and Emily in a group performing our little play thing. Looking back, I dreaded the preparation of it and thought it was pointless but honestly, it gave me more confidence in my ability as a Spanish student since we were not being very serious but using the language. Usually everything was more or less serious and that gave us, well at least me, a new way to use Spanish and everything I learned in a different way. And of course, spending down time with Profe Moon and Claire would probably be the best memories of being a Spanish major. I gained two amazing people in my life from it! You both are individuals that I know I can go to with just about anything and always give me advice whenever I may need it! Least favorite memory would probably be just being asked constantly why I was at Bryant since I was not a Business major. There isn’t one specific time that sticks out for me, it was just the constant questions about what led me to Bryant and (OH) if I was going to be a teacher!!! That’s my least favorite memory haha :)

2. What was it like to be an Arts and Sciences major at Bryant? 

Claire: When I first entered Bryant, I was declared as an International Business major. It took me about a semester to realize that I had selected that major for the language component and the requirement to study abroad. I switched over to LCS and Spanish majors as soon as I could. Changing my major to the Arts and Sciences was absolutely the best decision I made academically at Bryant. And not to bash the Business school! While I was an IB major I had some incredible professors who I am still in touch with. I just had found my niche at Bryant within the LCS and Spanish departments. The support I received from faculty and certain members of administration was heartening and encouraging. I had the chance to focus in areas that I was really passionate about and have really interesting conversations with others who shared those passions. There were challenges to being an Arts and Sciences major at a school that is primarily known for its business school. In a lot of the classes I took for my major, I was surrounded by students who were only taking them as core requirements. There were times when the majority of the students in my classes were apathetic towards the material and dismissed it as unimportant, making it hard to feel valued as an Arts and Sciences major. Luckily, though, the network of professors worked really hard to ensure that my academic endeavors were always supported and valued. Even through the hard times as an A&S major, I wouldn’t change a thing about the path I took at Bryant. The faculty and peers I connected with were incredible and made my experience one that I look back on with fondness and gratefulness. I mean, it’s not at every school that you meet professors for tacos to talk about writing or head to office hours to talk about class for a minute and life for a half hour.

Tony: The answer for this kind of is the same as above, in that I enjoyed it because it was what I wanted to do with myself but at the same time, everyone around me was judging me for it, well at least those outside of the Arts and Sciences world. Within our college, however, I felt like everyone supported each other and understood what we were all going through. We never really questioned each other about why we chose Bryant or thought less of each other because we were at Bryant.

 3. What advice would you give current Spanish majors? 

Claire: There are a lot of opportunities that arise from majoring in a foreign language. One of the biggest is being able to communicate and connect with people in their native tongue when you travel. As a Spanish major at Bryant, I’d recommend taking a survey of the courses offered. Some of my favorite classes focused on film and literature throughout the Spanish speaking world. Having a deeper understanding of the cultural context of these texts challenges and enhances your global perspective. Also, STUDY ABROAD! It’s the most incredible opportunity and honestly the best way to engross yourself in the language and culture. The beauty of majoring in Spanish is the variety of universities to choose from. I studied in Granada, Spain and had the most incredible experience. Living with a host family, taking all of my classes in Spanish, and traveling around Spain allowed me to overcome my nerves and just speak to people in real, authentic conversations. As fantastic as the program is at Bryant, there’s no comparison for language learning than just going for it and throwing yourself into the Spanish speaking world.

Tony: I think I would tell Spanish majors not to listen to those who may try and belittle you for being different and not to be afraid to be different. You can do so much with a Spanish degree that outsiders may not realize. I would tell them to have some sort of Business background so that they might be able to get a job easier, depending of course what they want to do post Bryant. Finally, I would tell them you DO NOT have to be a teacher or professor if you don’t want to be. Everyone will ask you this, but just have to be assertive and give them reasons why not to ask you and prove to them that you can do more than they may think.

4. Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Claire: This is a question I ask myself quite frequently. Currently, I’m teaching high school Spanish in Providence, which I really enjoy. I’m currently looking into Masters in Spanish programs and Masters/Doctoral programs in Latin American Studies and Community Development. Hopefully, I’ll be enrolled in a graduate program and on my way to working in a Spanish-speaking community or somewhere in Latin America.

Tony: In five years…. SCARY! If I am still at Nordstrom, I hope to have moved up within the company and be working in Seattle at headquarters. Nordstrom is a great company and one that I enjoy working for. I would love to be able to move up and become a buyer for the company. It may be a long journey to get there, but I’m hopefully that I’ll be able to get there in five years or less! (Hopefully less!)

5. What impact has your Spanish major had on your career so far? On other aspects of your life?

Claire: Majoring in Spanish had a pretty direct and prominent role in my career thus far, as I am currently a high school Spanish teacher. Aside from (obviously) using it on a daily basis in the classroom, I have found myself reading more stories by Latino authors, browsing through the Spanish language films on Netflix when I’m bored, listening to the Spanish radio station in the car and speaking Spanish at any opportunity. Working towards my major, I was pretty hesitant to practice my speaking skills- embarrassed is probably a more appropriate word. But the encouragement of the faculty in the department and my time abroad really helped me to break out of my shell and overcome those nerves. Spanish is taking over my life!

Tony: So being a Spanish major thus far has not had a huge impact on my career yet. I know that eventually, I will be able to use it to communicate with customers who walk in that may not speak English or may not understand English and that will give me a leg up to everyone else that I work with who does not speak or understand Spanish. I will also be able to use it further down the road if and when I have to relocate to another part of the country or even if we, as a company, expand outside to a Spanish speaking country. I have been able to use my Spanish skills to become closer friends with many employees whose primary language is Spanish and am I able to discuss not only my time at Bryant with customers, but also my time abroad whenever I see fit. I have brought one, if not both, up almost every day at work which makes me proud. (On a side note, we have what is called “gratis” at work for free products every so often and everyone pronounces it “grat-is” instead of the proper pronunciation. It killed me every time I heard it and finally told people in my department how to properly pronounce gratis. That was a great moment :) )