Gabby Steinfeld ’15 Senior Profile: Hispanic Studies

steinfeld_gabbyIf you had asked me four years ago what I planned on majoring in in college, Hispanic Studies, or anything pertaining to a foreign language for that matter, would have never crossed my mind. It just wasn’t something I was considering, not because I didn’t like Spanish or didn’t see a need in continuing it (in fact, if you read on, you’ll see that I thought quite the opposite, and that’s how I ended up here) but rather because I just thought I wasn’t any good at it. In high school, I made it all the way through AP Spanish but only managed to squeak by with a 3 on the exam. In fact, the only reason I even went on to AP Spanish was because my teacher at the time didn’t give me any option, and simply signed me up to take it. After somehow managing to get by AP Spanish and after getting to William & Mary freshman year, I signed up for a Spanish class, if only because I felt like I had learned a fair amount, and I didn’t want to forget it. Over the next two years, I ended up kind of accidentally fulfilling a lot of the major requirements. When it came time to decide where I wanted to study abroad, there was no question that I wanted to study in a Spanish-speaking country. At that time, I was considering other majors (I had signed up to be a psychology major but wasn’t crazy about the lab courses) but decided, after realizing how many credits I had accidentally taken in the field of Hispanic Studies, to switch to a Hispanic Studies major.

I couldn’t have made a better decision. Four years after initially enrolling at this college, I can now say that I have taken classes at a Spanish university, interviewed a well-known Latino poet, studied political and social issues through the lens of latino and hispanic social action, and written pages upon pages of academic writing in Spanish. These aren’t things I would have guessed I would have done by the end of college four years ago.

I am grateful especially to Professor Arries, Professor Terukina and Professor Greenia for pushing me to write better, read better, speak better, and think better, in Spanish and in English. The professors here have opened up my eyes to what learning a foreign language and culture can be like. I will forever remember their efforts and what I have learned from them.

My future plans include either teaching English to Spanish speakers or teaching Spanish to English speakers. I don’t know exactly where I’ll be–Chile, Spain, or NOVA–but wherever I go, I will surely use what I have learned here at W&M and how I have grown in the MDLL department to be the most successful. Thank you to everyone at this amazing university for an amazing four years.

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