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Why Learn Spanish?

Graduate Testimonials
The following endorsements are from Citadel graduates whose language degrees have afforded them exceptional opportunities. To include your testimonial, e-mail Dr. Strobbe.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences as a French and Spanish major at The Citadel.  As a freshman, I was encouraged by supportive faculty to pursue a double major in French and Spanish and the department did an amazing job to rearrange schedules so that none of the classes I needed overlapped one another.  I had the opportunity to take many classes that highlighted many different fields of study in each language.  From film classes to writing classes to literature classes to music classes, I was able to immerse myself in both the French and Spanish worlds of culture.  I learned about many countries and was even able to visit some of them by studying abroad. In the summer of 2008, I was fortunate enough to visit the town of Montpellier, France and study French at L’ Institut Linguistique du Peyrou. It was a dream of mine to study abroad and our experience was wonderful. With Dr. Toubiana, we traveled to many cities in Southern France on the weekends and got to see so many historical and important areas of the country. I was able to meet many international students, some of whom I am still friends with today, and was able to better my French by living with a host family. In the summer of 2009, I traveled with Dr. Medina and Dr. Urroz’s group to Alcalá de Henares outside of Madrid, Spain and where Miguel de Cervantes was form. Again, I stayed with a host family and studied Spanish History of Art and Spanish History at the University of Alcalá. We enjoyed many adventures to historical sites, beautiful art galleries, and got to try so many delicious Spanish foods.

I have benefitted from my study of languages at The Citadel because I had a much more individualized learning experience with smaller classes and professors who deeply cared about their fields of study and their students. Because of my experiences studying abroad and learning languages, my husband’s two-year move to Japan was much easier to me and thus, on our family. There, I was able to use the knowledge I gained from The Citadel to teach French, Spanish, and English to Japanese students. I highly recommend The Citadel’s Modern Language Department to anyone hoping to pursue a very well-rounded study of language and I am grateful for the opportunity to graduate from such a valuable program. Learning a language opens so many doors of possibility, whether it is new friends, new ways of thinking, or a window to a culture different to one’s own, learning languages connects us to the world and I am thankful to be part of that. 

Sarah Moore, Double Major French & Spanish, 2015

I began my career at The Citadel as a Health & Exercise Science Major, with a minor in Biology. However, after spending a month with The Citadel's Maymester program in Ecuador, I knew unequivocally that a degree in Spanish is exactly what I wanted to pursue. I fell in love with the language, the culture and people. I jumped at every opportunity to improve my language skills.

The following semester after returning from Ecuador, I consulted with Dr. Del Mastro about applying to Wake Forest University's renowned study abroad program in Salamanca, Spain. I was accepted to the program and my life was truly changed forever. Not only did I meet m y future spouse in Spain, I overcame the language barrier and learned to communicate fluently in Spanish. Upon returning to The Citadel the following year, I was amazed at how well I fully comprehended the Spanish language.

Since my graduation from The Citadel in 2004, I have had many opportunities to use my Spanish in the professional and academic world. Whether I was using my ability to speak Spanish to close a business deal with the president of an insurance agency, translate for the team of doctors and physical therapists at my medical centers in Houston, Texas, or translate for my law professors on a recent human rights study abroad program to Chile and Argentina, my Spanish degree has unequivocally served me well.

Most recently, on April 8, 2009, I was granted an interview for a legal internship in the Office of Corporate Compliance at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago. Jim, the Associate General Counsel , noted that there were two things that really stood out on my resume. The first was that I was able to speak Spanish fluently. The second, he noted with a huge smile on his face, was that I studied at the University of Salamanca. Jim proceeded to tell me that his father used to be a Spanish Professor at American University, and that he spent many of his summer vacations with his father in Salamanca when he was growing up. At the conclusion of our interview, he mentioned there were still around thirty candidates to interview, and that he would let me know their decision in four weeks. However, much to my surprise, by the time I had returned home an hour later, I had an e-mail in my inbox offering me the job!

I am forever grateful to Dr. Del Mastro and the entire team of Spanish professors who truly instilled within me a love for learning, a love for Spanish, a love for cultures, and the ability to overcome any obstacle that may be in my way. The entire faculty challenged me in class everyday. I noticed more in the Spanish professors, than any other group of professors on campus, their passion for wanting to truly help and inspire students to become something greater. Dr. Del Mastro's infectious personality and true love of the Spanish language could turn a lecture about alejandrino's and iambic pentameter into something close to an orchestrated masterpiece. He always found a way to make every subject interesting!

Finally, in my future role as an attorney, whether I am using my Spanish skills to represent Spanish-speaking immigrants in immigration court, counseling a client on a cross-border transaction, or assisting an injured worker, my ability to speak Spanish will give me ability to not only market to a greater base of clients, but to also empathize and understand those who I am serving.

Brandon C. Hall, '04
Accelerated J. D. Candidate, Valparaiso U. School of Law August 2009

I began studying Spanish at The Citadel because it was something different. Unsure of what career path I would eventually choose, it seemed a natural fit for my appetite of seeking excellence beyond the norm. My roommate was a Business major, and that had no appeal to me at the time. I was certain that if I could master a foreign language, some amazing doors would open down the road.

Upon graduation with a degree in Modern Languages (Spanish), I served as an Air Force officer before getting the chance to transition back into civilian life by working for a manufacturing company in Georgia that specialized in heavy transport vehicles. This had been simply a regional market for them, and my insight and abilities gave them the confidence to pursue qualified dealer networks throughout Latin America. I was able to Travel to nearly every country on the continent, and had outstanding success forging relationships with business professionals and engineers. Our business exportation rate was around 1% when I started, and included only Canada. After just two and a half years, exports became over 60% of our business, and continued to grow; establishing qualified distributors in nine Latin American countries.

I was given the task of training these dealership technicians in specific knowledge of our products, which required me to adapt a "technical Spanish" ability, communicating effectively to the guys actually turning the wrenches.

Each of my professional visits there were received extremely well, and I have established lifelong friendships as a result thereof.

I currently work for, and we are attempting a similar global strategy, on which I have been given the chance to play a small role.

In short, I would say that my ability to communicate (particularly write) Spanish has been a tremendous asset, transcending pedigree and experience when opportunities in the workforce arise.

Paul J. Swaim, '03
AMTRAN Area Manager, LEX 2
July 2009

My experience with the Spanish language has been somewhat different than most alumni since it is my native tongue. However, the fact remains the same: Spanish has been a key asset to my development as a professional, but more specifically, as a member of the U.S. Army Intelligence community.

Initially, being able to speak the language didn't encourage me to enroll in any Spanish classes at The Citadel, until I met Dr. Del Mastro. Besides being a great recruiter for the Spanish program, he's a great professor and an even better friend. For those of you who already speak Spanish, I guarantee that you will be challenged. But most importantly, you will quickly realize how much you can help the rest of the cadets by simply engaging in discussions during class.

As of now, I'm stationed at the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, Florida as an Open Source Analyst. I use my language skills on a daily basis analyzing and disseminating public information with relative ease compared to my counterparts who don't speak Spanish. Spanish makes my job easier, but it also helps those who understand that nowadays the world is moving at a faster pace than ever before. I knew that being a Spanish speaker would always help me in one way or another. I now know that my predictions were right, but I never imagined that this skill would open up so many opportunities.

The key is to remain proactive and not reactive. What better way to uphold this than by improving your personal skills and learning Spanish in a country where it has become the second most prominent language? Furthermore, we are in a part of the world where most countries retain Spanish as their official language.

Today, Spanish has become more than a language. Being bilingual has become the bridge to maintaining successful relations with our partner nations. I can't think of a better way to honor this country than by becoming a more efficient citizen. This country needs people who maximize their potential by learning another language, but most importantly we need people that are actively seeking to harvest great impressions upon other nations, something which will undoubtedly prove fruitful in the future. Simply put, better yourself so you can better your country.

2LT Leandro Chamorro, '08
U.S. Army National Guard, MI
July 2009

I vividly remember questioning my choice of having declared Spanish as my major as I sat in the small office of Dr. Grant Staley, the Chair of the Modern Languages Dept. at the time. The knobs had been given a respite from the Cadre to meet with our faculty advisers, and I watched with amazement as all of my peers were marched off to attend their meetings with large groups in the other academic departments. There I sat in the fall of 1996 as the lone Spanish major in my class (although others would eventually add Spanish as a major, and many would minor in it), and I wondered if I had made the right decision. Thirteen years later I look back with an eternal gratitude at how much that choice and the Modern Languages faculty positively impacted my future.

I arrived at The Citadel after having spent the first eighteen years of my life in a rural area of the western corner of the Upstate region of South Carolina. I grew up on a farm and attended high school in a small town with a population of roughly 1,200. My small school only offered two years of Spanish, and I didn’t begin studying the language until the age of seventeen. Needless to say, my world view and ability to communicate and be understood in Spanish were all limited. However, the four years that I would spend studying in The Citadel’s Modern Languages Department radically changed my life for the better. The tutelage of such a dedicated, caring, and enthusiastic faculty whether in the classroom or sharing a meal in a local Mexican restaurant afforded me the opportunity to perfect my spoken and written Spanish.

In the spring of my junior year I decided to spend the following term in a study abroad program, a decision that left an indelible mark on my life and was only made thanks to the counsel and encouragement that I received from Dr. Del Mastro. A semester abroad in Salamanca, Spain opened my eyes to a culture and lifestyle distinct from my own and resulted in forging lifelong friendships with people that I would have never met otherwise.

Since graduating in 2000, my life has been dedicated to sharing my passion for the language with tomorrow’s leaders, our nation’s youth. I have been fortunate enough to teach in some of the top independent boarding and day schools in three different states and have carried students to the Iberian Peninsula, Central, and South America. Professionally, my most rewarding moments come when I witness first-hand the exodus from the confinement of a student’s native tongue and an entrance into the Eden of bilingualism. The pedagogy that I employ in my classroom is simply an attempt at emulating the contagious charisma and profound knowledge of subject matter to which I had the pleasure of observing for four years in the classrooms of Drs. Del Mastro, Bahk, Staley and Andrade.

One of the many words with a Spanish etymology that has worked its way into the English lexicon is the word quixotic, one which pays homage to the great Spanish literary figure Don Quixote. The adjective is defined by the dictionary as resembling or befitting Don Quixote, that is to say caught up in the romance of noble deeds or idealistic. I owe my biggest debt of gratitude to The Citadel and the Dept. of Modern Languages for making me quixotic. Being a Spanish speaker has provided me many opportunities for community service whether through teaching English to Hispanic immigrants through the Salvation Army, translating documents for the United Way, or serving as an interpreter on a mission trip in South America. It is in the midst of these actions that I believe in some small way my ability to speak Spanish is helping the world to be a better place. It is this lesson, one that was first cultivated within me by the great faculty of the Modern Languages Department, that I hope I share with my students the most.

Brad C. Greer, ‘00
Spanish Instructor
Christ Church Episcopal School
Greenville, SC
August 2009

I always had an interest in foreign languages and cultures. When I arrived at The Citadel I knew I wanted to participate and study a foreign language. However, at the time I had no idea how my language ability would help me in my career. The Modern Language staff at The Citadel is top notch and all are willing to go the extra mile in order for their students to succeed. For me what I have accomplished today would not have been possible if it were not for the guidance and challenges presented to me by Dr. Del Mastro and my other professors at The Citadel.

Since graduating from The Citadel in May 2006 I have had the opportunity to attend Middlebury College's intensive summer language school in Vermont two summers in a row. I have worked as a Spanish interpreter at AnMed hospital systems in Anderson, SC where I interpreted in a variety of situations, ranging from Emergency Room car accidents to a live birth. I even was able to travel down to Buenos Aires, Argentina to participate in an ESL (English as a Second Language) program where we were instructed on how to teach, and then given ample opportunity to practice what we learned. I also was able to get to know my roommates very well because I was already able to communicate in Spanish with them from my arrival. This proved to be very valuable.

In July, 2008, I was hired as a public servant with the Social Security Administration in Ottumwa, IA. I was later told by my new boss that my Spanish speaking ability is what set me apart from the other applicants. As a Claims Representative for SSA I am responsible for informing claimants about the possible benefits of Social Security. Since I am bilingual I often have to help co-workers by serving as an interpreter, if I am unable to do the appointment myself. In addition, I have also been able to help the Office of the Inspector General (OIG); the federal police of social security investigate fraud and misuse cases.

Charles "Chip" Knisley, '06
August 2009

Some of you reading the many positive narratives on this page may be thinking something along the lines of "well, that's great for these people, but they probably already liked Spanish, and languages just aren't my thing." Let me offer you my experience to consider.

I didn't put too much thought into choosing a major prior to arriving to The Citadel. I knew I had a commissioning contract with the Army, so I just decided to study something I knew I liked. Having always been a history enthusiast, it was an easy decision to take History as my major. Having taken some Spanish in high school, which I didn't particularly enjoy, I never considered studying Spanish beyond completing my language requirement. The way I saw it then, it wasn't that exciting to learn vocabulary and conjugate verbs, it could be tedious, and it was a lot of work. There is no question that beginning the study of a new language can be a tough process. Little did I know at the time of the innumerous benefits that an investment in Spanish would offer back to me through the years.

After my first year at The Citadel, I decided to study abroad and signed up for The Citadel's Maymester program in Quito, Ecuador. Only then, did I start to appreciate what learning another language could offer, as I realized that I already, after just one year of study, had the emerging ability to communicate and explore. Fluency in another language truly is a conduit to a whole other world of food, music, literature, and rich cultural experiences. Dr. Del Mastro showed me just how do-able it would be to pursue a dual major, and I decided to add Spanish as major. I in no way exaggerate when I tell you that it was one of the best decisions of my life.

Once you start to develop your skill, the momentum and excitement of your new abilities will allow you to do and experience things that you never even knew existed. I soon realized that I could read books and newspapers, converse with people from other backgrounds, watch foreign films and television, and travel unaccompanied to incredible and exotic places all over the world - to include many adventures in Ecuador, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Spain.

In a very concrete way, a degree in Spanish will allow you to develop a skill that will separate you from you peers in almost whatever profession you pursue. As an attorney, this has been true since the start. While a law student, I was hired for a competitive internship because of my fluency in Spanish, and my second interview was a four-way conference call with the hiring attorneys conducting the entire interview in Spanish. Upon graduation from law school, I entered active duty as a Judge Advocate in the US Army JAG Corps at the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, NC. Many of the family members of our Paratroopers speak only Spanish, and as the only member of our law office that spoke fluent Spanish, I had an ability to extend our service to an entirely different client base, which my raters expressly noted on my evaluations. An ability to read, write, and converse in Spanish has opened many doors for my future duty stations in the JAG Corps, as I have opportunities to work with foreign nations, Special Forces groups, and in parts of the world that would not otherwise be open to me.

I guess the best way I can explain my experience with learning Spanish is to compare it to the moving of a stationary boulder. It may be slow-moving at first and require a lot of work for the slightest advances, but once it starts moving, look out for the excitement to follow!

CPT Garrison Groh, '04
US Army, Judge Advocate
September 2009

For the past 15 months I have been working in the Army International Affairs Division-Western Hemisphere Affairs at the Pentagon as a Defense Contractor. My decision to study Spanish, and even more to study abroad, at The Citadel was one of the best decisions I made during my time as a cadet. I basically had the option to graduate a year early or pick up a double major in Spanish and International Affairs. Needless to say I did the latter, and it has been great. I was able to secure a job (which is no easy feat in itself these days) where I started work two days after graduation and it was all because of my ability to speak Spanish. I currently act as a subject matter expert for the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) for Latin America. I spend most of my time providing international policy advice and interacting with foreign military representatives on behalf of the CSA. In this capacity I have had the opportunity to meet various 4-star generals in the U.S. and foreign Armies, the President of Colombia (Mr. Uribe), and various other ambassadors and foreign dignitaries. Additionally, I will have the opportunity to travel with the CSA this fall to Buenos Aires, Argentina for a period of one week. I can't thank The Citadel, and especially Dr. Del Mastro, more for encouraging me to continue the study of Spanish. I have had so many great experiences, and will have many more in the future, thanks to the skills I learned as a Spanish major at The Citadel.

Jonathan Haley Patton Poole, '08
July 2009

"I'm going to be an infantry officer. I'm going to Iraq or Afghanistan. Why will I ever need to know formal Spanish?" These were my words near the end of my last semester, before my hand was raised and I was no longer a civilian. If these words seem to mirror your own, I urge you to finish reading this before the words go from brain to mouth without as much as a second thought.

So, there I am, in northern Afghanistan, assigned to a Mobile Training Team whose mission was to assess the Afghan National Police forces within our area of operations, as well as the municipalities in which they served. Our team had one translator assigned to it and he was working with my boss, busy evaluating the medical facility, the well, and other aspects of local infrastructure. Until they were finished, I was forced to wait with one of the town councilmen, a doctor, who was also the leading medical professional in town. As I sat drinking my tea and looking around his office, I noticed his medical degree hanging on the wall, framed and formal. I looked more closely and noticed it was from a medical school in Barcelona, Spain. I turned to him and asked, in Spanish, if he could speak Spanish as well. To my surprise, in perfect Castilian dialect, lisp and all, he stated that he could. For the next two hours, without an Afghan translator, we spoke at length about the needs and capabilities of his town, and the perceptions of his people about the Afghan Army and Police, as well as the American presence within his country. Two complete strangers, speaking in a language not largely spoken on that particular continent, had managed to accomplish the mission with which my team had been assigned through the use of Spanish. That's what knowing Spanish can do for an Infantryman, who'd been to Iraq and Afghanistan, who thought he'd never need to learn Spanish.

Almost three years later, I sit in Bogota, Colombia. I am assigned as a military advisor to the 5th Division of the Colombian National Army, which currently is the national main effort in the war against the FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. My counterpart is a Colombian Army Colonel, who speaks no English and his boss, to whom I speak and work regularly, doesn't either. Every day use of the Spanish language is essential to my mission and, ultimately, to the success of the Colombian military against a lethal, cunning, and deeply ideological terrorist organization. I'm a Military Intelligence officer now but, knowing Spanish has allowed me to complete my mission and assist a fellow sovereign nation in the Global War on Terror.

So, the bottom line up front is this. You may carry a weapon and lead soldiers through the streets of Mosul or Jalalabad. You may fly attack aviation and engage an enemy mortar system from two-thousand meters away. Or, like me, you may throw the commander your best guess about what the enemy will do and then sit back and drink your coffee. One thing is certain: if you don't think language is a priority in the current war on terror, you are gravely mistaken. Knowing one may accomplish a mission, may earn you a little more respect among your Soldiers, or, ultimately, save a life somewhere down the line. In an information age and within an information-intense battlefield, language, whether an enemy's or an ally's is a weapon system that, if harnessed, is an asset and, if ignored, is an enemy's advantage.

CPT Andy O'Brien, '02
US Army, Military Intelligence
July 2009

While it is obvious that the war on terror is the focus of today's military, a longer battle is still being waged against the influx of illicit drugs into the United States from Central and South America. The Navy has the almost exclusive lead on this fight (in conjunction with the Coast Guard) and there is daily interaction, en español, between the US Navy and local fisherman, regional navies and coast guards, and pirates.

Exercise UNITAS (commonly pronounced in Spanish) is a yearly, multinational naval deployment exercise. Every year since 1960, several United States Navy vessels have circumnavigated the South American continent, participating in maneuvers with local navies. This circumnavigation alternates each year between clockwise and counterclockwise. With UNITAS, naval vessels make several port calls in Spanish speaking countries. It is a diplomatic coup when the officer corps of US Navy ships can converse with our South American partners. It not only demonstrates our commitment to a shared hemispherical defense, an idea espoused and guarded jealously since the proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine, but it also helps forge stronger cross-cultural bonds between nations. I would offer that it is also less embarrassing for the Untied States when we can go to another country and speak their language, have a passing knowledge of their culture, rather than being the arrogant imperialistic power which we are so often viewed as overseas. While I haven’t participated in a UNITAS yet, I know that the Citadel's Spanish language preparation would have served me well.

Where my Citadel Spanish education has benefited me already however, is in the daily interaction with my Hispanic shipmates. While it is true that the common language of the US Navy is English, the reality is that many people will frequently still use their native tongue. Even my limited proficiency in Spanish has allowed me to speak with the Hispanic crew members on my ship and it shows them that I take the time to invest in their culture. The payback is often immediate – the smile on their face, the respect that is earned from attempting to speak to them in their native language. While it is important to possess a certain baseline level of people skills to perform this job, Spanish language is an invaluable tool in your toolbox when communicating in today's Navy. The Navy, it is often said, is a reflection of society. Our demographics closely mimic those of the country at-large. Hispanics are entering the Navy at an increased rate, and I guarantee that officers will have the opportunity to interact with Hispanic sailors. Why not make a great first impression?

ENS Aaron A. Daley, '07
USN Combat Information Center Officer
October 2007

Always a reluctant student, I backed into the study of Hispanic Literature and Culture by chance. Before initiating university studies I had settled originally on an English major as sufficient preparation for future studies in Law and a potential career in litigation. Life, however, never adheres to one's program and subsequently, after a brief meeting with then department head, Dr. Staley, I found myself, a freshman Spanish major, sitting in classes with juniors and seniors. Indeed, this was a daunting experience, yet one that would prove invaluable preparation for forthcoming adventures. Senior year loomed on the horizon when I had an epiphany: law school no longer interested me, however, I had made no alternate plans. Then I began to investigate the possibility of graduate school, as I realized that a B.A. was simply not enough. The possibility of attending Middlebury's M.A. program in Spanish as well as completing that degree in Spain was very attractive, and after various conversations with Dr. Mark Del Mastro who was very insistent that I should pursue this, I applied and was subsequently accepted.

My year in Spain afforded me an opportunity that few can enjoy; living abroad, learning new concepts in literature, language, culture all the while being able to take advantage fully of all this new information. Because of my earlier experiences at The Citadel, I was not intimidated by this new experience and I launched myself fearlessly into this new life meeting many people and forming lasting friendships. Upon my return to the America, I took advantage of an opportunity to teach introductory level courses at The Citadel. It was then I discovered my passion for teaching and mentoring students, I however, had to be sure of this. (Interestingly enough, the mentoring opportunities I had while a cadet did not reveal this to me as I was not mature enough to discern this.) After that year, I sought a job in the private sector and while I learned many valuable lessons, I realized that I did not fit into corporate world, which prompted my decision to return to graduate school at the University of Kentucky.

As I enter my fourth year and I face the, at times, daunting task of writing the dissertation I am reminded once again of why I chose this career/lifestyle. I enjoy it too much! My time here has caused me to reflect on this decision; I am not a mere teacher or another academic who may have a somewhat irrational interest in issues not considered important /beneficial to a greater public. In fact, I am an ambassador and it is always my duty to encourage others to learn about this wonderful Hispanic culture. My success lies inherently in those students who embark on their own journeys into learning about the world around them because of something that piqued their curiosity in my classroom. Moreover, they in turn will be capable of doing even greater things than I could ever hope to achieve, of this I am certain. I am sure that I could have had as fulfilling a career in some other field, but this is where I belong and I have only the intuitive professors who have guided me until this point to thank for this.

My study of language helped me discover my true passion. It provided the forum necessary for me to reconsider my goals in life and choose carefully that path I wished to follow. My experience cannot be someone else's. However, the boldness of spirit and mental strength required to take on such a daunting task as foreign language study shall inevitably prove to be invaluable for success in any career path.

Anderson A. Stewart, '03
Ph.D. Candidate, Hispanic Studies, University of Kentucky
October 2009

I graduated summa cum laude with a bachelors degree in Spanish. While attending The Citadel, I was an active member of Sigma Delta Pi and also had the opportunity to study abroad in Ecuador. Upon graduation from The Citadel, I entered a Master's degree program in Physician Assistant Studies at East Carolina University. As a part of my education, I go to various doctors' offices and see patients. Upon many rotations I have been asked to work not only as a Physician Assistant student, but also as a Spanish interpreter for Hispanic patients. The knowledge I gained as a Spanish major has proved vital to patient care in eastern North Carolina and has helped make me a valuable asset in the medical community.

I recently worked as a student Physician Assistant in Kinston, NC where I had to use Spanish daily to communicate with Hispanic children and their mothers. As a result of my ability to speak Spanish, I was offered a job with full benefits and the top starting salary in my field. I would strongly recommend Spanish as a great major for many professional fields. Estimates among the medical community state that the Hispanic population will continue to rise throughout the US with a tremendous impact in the Southeastern US. Studying Spanish at The Citadel will give you the extra edge in a particularly difficult economy and job market. Feel free to contact me with questions at

Kevin Johnson, '07
August 2009


Upon completing my first year at The Citadel I switched my major from Business Administration to Spanish following a six week study program in Bolivia with The Citadel. Doing so, I knew that I had set myself apart from not only Citadel students, but the vast majority of college students nationwide. Immediately I became exposed to opportunities that I would never have been, if I had not made the change to Spanish. Having the chance to study abroad twice during the summer and once for a semester in both Latin America and Spain has been invaluable in my academic and personal development. Studying Spanish language, culture, and literature opened my eyes to different perspectives and issues that most college students never see.

With the full support of the faculty of the Modern Languages Department, I applied for several postgraduate fellowships to some of the top universities in the country, and a research grant with the Fulbright program. I was accepted to Georgetown University and offered a Teaching Assistantship at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I will be entering the Masters Program of Spanish at UC Boulder this Fall. All of these opportunities were made possible because I took the road less traveled, and was challenged to perform to my academic potential in the Modern Languages program at The Citadel.

By having a degree in Modern Languages, several things can be assumed about a person. First, that they are willing to step "outside the box" in the academic world. Second, that they are willing to culturally diversify themselves, which is essential in every facet of life whether it be in the military, or private sector. Third, that they are able to critically read, write, and analyze information, abilities that are not aquired in all departments. And not to mention the ability to speak Spanish not only opens doors but is nearly essential in the US today.

I have used my ability to speak Spanish in every job I have had, and impressed every employer with the qualities aquired through my degree in Spanish. I am incredibly grateful to the Spanish program for everything I have gained, and for my decision to take the road less traveled.

Richard Doelling, '09
August 2009

The Spanish program at The Citadel has been instrumental in forming both my civilian and military careers. While working as a records intern at the Greenville County Law Enforcement Center in South Carolina, I was asked multiple times to serve as a translator in official court proceedings in order to help expedite the legal process. I am currently a Spanish teacher at the high school level and an infantry platoon leader in the South Carolina Army National Guard. My education from The Citadel and the Spanish program, specifically, has helped me form critical thinking skills that I use every day in my lesson plans. I use those skills to challenge students daily to analyze and interpret both the written and spoken language. The teaching methodology, classroom management skills and attention to detail that I learned being in Dr. Del Mastro's student teaching class prepared me greatly for my career. In the military, being bilingual was beneficial also. It is something that I put on my officer evaluation report as an additional skill. In Afghanistan, I used Spanish to communicate with other military personnel from European countries in our base, as they were at least bilingual as well. Being bilingual helps you understand and appreciate cultures from around the world in general. You become a better-rounded, knowledgeable person.

Javier Yudice, '06
Spanish Teacher
Brashier Middle College Charter High School
1LT, South Carolina Army National Guard
August 2009

I am still an educational psychology member but being a Spanish major has still influenced me. I use to work in the department as a graduate assistant and some of the professors would ask me to translate for them. They would give me participant consent forms that they needed to be translated from English to Spanish. Often, they would be conducting research with school children and needed their parents' consent to participate in answering any surveys or questionnaires. I had to make sure that I was very exact in my wording and that the parents were able to understand and ensure their child's confidentiality. I felt that my skills in Spanish were able to help others conduct their research.

Cassandra Cortes, '06
M.A. Candidate, University of Houston
August 2009

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