Angelina (Lina) Kayyalaynen
"Being bilingual means more career opportunities and higher pay. But that’s not necessarily why I studied Spanish. I simply enjoy being able to talk to people from various cultural backgrounds, especially in their own language. It makes people more receptive to you.
Being bilingual is ALWAYS a plus, no matter who you are or where you work. You may not use your second language in your occupation, but the fact that you are willing to push yourself to learn something new, and that you have to be disciplined at it, is what counts. That’s what employers look at when hiring. And many companies offer higher pay for bilingual individuals.
At the very least, when you take foreign language and culture classes, you will gain a little more knowledge of the world around you. And being sensitive to others’ cultural traditions and lifestyles is a language everyone can understand."
"Speaking Spanish and being knowledgeable about Latin American culture gave me the confidence, inspiration and cultural competence to travel to Peru, where I lived, worked and volunteered for 15 months. Knowing a little about the culture helped me to adjust to life abroad.
Learning about manners and cultural customs at WSU Vancouver helped me immensely throughout my time in Peru. Simply knowing that things take longer in Latin America—waits are longer, busses might not arrive on time and simple tasks might take a lot of paperwork (and more waiting)—helped me plan my days and know what to expect.
Time after time my Spanish skills have been helpful. Speaking Spanish has helped me interact with other Spanish speakers in the United States, and to employers it looks impressive on a resume."
"I work with high school students who are facing systemic barriers in their education. For many of them, Spanish is their first language. Although they may have been speaking English for years, they often struggle with their schoolwork. Understanding Spanish has helped me make connections with them, and better understanding how their culture works (especially in regard to home life) has been key in enabling me to develop strong relationships with my students.
Understanding another language and culture is important in any line of work one plans to go into. In addition, understanding Spanish has helped me not only in traveling to Spanish-speaking parts of the world but also as I have traveled through Europe. When I was in France last year, I could get the gist of all the signs because Spanish words have similar roots."