My love for languages started in high school and I've studied Spanish (and French) since then. Now it has almost come full-circle; I'm studying to be a secondary school Spanish and French teacher! I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Spanish in 2013, one of the most enriching learning experiences in my years of study.
Speaking another language opens up so many great opportunities for learning, communicating and expressing ourselves, and the cultures that go hand in hand with the Spanish spoken in different places are captivating to learn about and experience.
When I first immersed myself in the Spanish language and culture, I was 17 and eager to learn new perspectives, to live in another country and culture, and to practise and improve my Spanish, through a high school exchange. Upon my return from my seventh form year in Alicante, Spain, my adventures continued as I began my studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin.
During the time I undertook my Spanish major I learnt about countless intriguing people, places, histories, literature, social and cultural phenomena from the inspiring teaching staff of the Spanish Department, and the fundamental part that brought it all together was Spanish. It is a language of rhyme and passion, embedded in the vibrant Hispanic cultures in Spain and Latin America.
The Department of Languages and Cultures supported my Honours exchange in 2013, when I spent the first semester living and studying Spanish literature in Madrid, before coming back to write my dissertation (in Spanish!). The experience was amazing and unforgettable; the personal growth that comes from exchanges and travel is invaluable, as is getting to know yourself and others in another language!
Through learning Spanish I have found such a deep appreciation for the beauty of words and communication around the world, but also that which is expressed with something more than words; culture.