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Emma’s Story as a Spanish Major – Inside UW-Green Bay News

An innovative and practical approach from UW-Green Bay’s Spanish faculty helps Emma learn and understand the Spanish language. After studying abroad in Spain, Emma decided to double major in Spanish and Social Work at UW-Green Bay. The ability to learn from native speakers of the language and understand the culture will benefit Emma’s career in social work. Being able to speak both English and Spanish breaks down these language barriers, especially in social work, where clients often share personal, vulnerable experiences that are so much easier to do in their native language. Listen to Emma’s story below.

Translation: I decided to double major in Spanish at UW-Green Bay after studying abroad in Spain. I came in with a bunch of Spanish credits from high school so studying abroad was the minor, and I figured I might as well take those few classes after that and make it a major too. And I think majoring in Spanish will definitely help in social work because it breaks down the language barriers and really helps improve relationships with the clients. The Spanish program here at GB is very hands-on because it is just direct practice of the language. You know that there is no better way to improve your skills than by speaking the language, listening to it and especially at the higher levels, because that is where you will learn the fun topics. I’ve taken classes on movies or literature or Latin American popular culture. And what I really liked about them is that no matter what topic you discuss, they all have a cultural aspect. So you not only practice your Spanish-speaking skills, but you also learn about cultures from different countries. The professors in Green Bay’s Spanish program are very nice, you can tell they definitely care about the success of their students and they really encourage you to improve your Spanish both by listening and speaking. And a lot of them are native speakers, so that helps your listening because you get to hear the different accents. During my social work internship, Spanish was very useful. There was a meeting I was in where we had a Spanish interpreter on the phone but the conversation dropped out so then everyone turned to me to help facilitate this conversation and at that moment I was very proud of myself that you I know I have the ability to bridge the language gap and communicate with this client so she can get the services she needs. Being able to speak both English and Spanish is useful in any career path because it removes language barriers. And specifically for social work, clients often share personally vulnerable experiences, which is so much easier to do in your native language.