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Department ofModern Languages and Literatures

What students have to say

Ellie Bollard '20

"As one of the SCU Global Fellows, I spent two months this summer in Bolivia working with ReVerdeSer, an NGO focused on sustainable farming and holistic resource management. Most of the people we worked with only spoke Spanish, so it forced me to practice and improve my language skills as well as pick up the local dialect. Overall, it was a very successful project and through our efforts we were able to secure funding for ReVerdeSer. Being fully immersed in a Spanish speaking country and working in a professional setting with locals has been an invaluable experience. At first I was nervous to live in a country with Spanish as the primary language, but SCU prepared me well and this experience strengthened my Spanish skills more than I could have imagined."

Parwana Khazi '20

"As an SCU Student Ambassador, I have the opportunity to speak with prospective students and families through panels, tours, and other admissions work. We normally offer tours in English as there has not been much of a demand for other languages -- however, there were families requesting a tour in Spanish at our annual Open House this past October, which caught the office off guard at first. Although I’m not a native speaker, I was asked to do the tour and I accepted -- what is truly the point of learning a language if you are not willing to use it when it is really needed? This was my first tour in Spanish and needless to say, it was not perfect. However, speaking with the families afterward, I truly understood the importance of knowing a language well enough to communicate with its speakers. I have an accent, sometimes mess up my verb tenses, and don't know every word, but I was able to be of service to these families in a manner that made them feel heard and at ease. For this, I am forever grateful."

Samantha Steinbrecher '21

"I am studying abroad in Nantes, France for Fall semester. It has been a wonderful experience so far! I am in an immersion program, which means that all of our classes are in French and there is a large emphasis on learning about and engaging with the local culture. Although it has been a challenge to adjust to speaking, listening, and thinking in a new language, it has quickly become normalized. I'm living with a French family, and I have had many opportunities to try new things! My host mom is a crepe-maker, so I frequently try her new recipes and occasionally try to make them on my own (hint: they're a lot harder to make than they seem!). All in all, studying abroad has been a rewarding and enlightening experience and I am trying my best to enjoy every moment."

Courtney Malecki '20

"My favorite part of studying abroad in Paris was living with my host family. They pushed me to speak more French every day and they truly treated me like family. My host sister also showed me around Paris and walked me to class the first day to make sure I knew where to go. My experience would not have been the same without them!"



Francesca Hellebrandt '18

"This year’s Summer Study Abroad trip to Freiburg, Germany, proved to be yet another success! For more than 10 years, the Freiburg summer study abroad program has offered Santa Clara students the opportunity to gain insight into the historical, cultural, and social aspects of the German-speaking world, all within the span of 4 weeks. Nestled at the foot of the Black Forest mountains, Germany’s Green City with its historical monuments and ecological policy offers a classic blend of old and new. With generous support from the Geoff and Josie Fox German fund, the students – Hannah Buck, Luke Gezovich, Jordan Dawkins (pictured) and Hudda Navaid (pictured) – not only enjoyed the intensive language courses, but also undertook numerous excursions in Freiburg and the surrounding region that shares a border with France and Switzerland. For Jordan Dawkins, the main highlight of the program was that it served as “a great hub for people to experience different cultures that even extend past Germany’s borders.” Not only was she afforded the opportunity to meet many like-minded people while immersed in a new culture, but was given a summer that she will never forget."

Julieta Perales '18

"The Global Social Benefit Fellowship first appealed to me because of its focus on action research.  This meant getting out into the field, in real-life situations and conducting research that would help my host social enterprise achieve their mission of creating value from waste.  This summer I spent seven weeks in Mexico and Nicaragua studying the data collection and impact monitoring procedures of Sistema Biobolsa.  Sistema Biobolsa manufactures biodigesters that allow small and medium scale farmers to convert animal waste into biogas and an organic fertilizer.  I had an amazing time in the Mexico City office familiarizing myself with the enterprise’s operations, interviewing customers in the field in Mexico and Nicaragua, meeting new people, and immersing myself in the Spanish language.  From this experience, I have learned that awareness of cultural context is essential for creating scalable and meaningful impact.  For this reason, I encourage all students who have the opportunity to get out into the world and learn about a different culture.  Experiences like this are extremely helpful in  shaping your perspectives and priorities as you move on in life and decide what it is you want to do.”