Name: Emily Normand
Location of Study: Cusco, Peru
Program of Study: Maximo Nivel Intensive Summer Language
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and Kellogg Institute for International Studies
A brief personal bio:
Hola! My name is Emily, and I am a first-year Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) major. I hail from the sunny desert of Phoenix, Arizona, though two-weeks after my high school graduation, my family packed up and moved to lush Northern California. I love reading, writing, chocolate, dabbling (without much skill) in water-color paints and calligraphy, but I think most of all, I love a god pun. If I had a year to do anything and cost was not an object, I would drop everything and travel the world writing poetry, journaling, walking around museums, and reading all the books I could acquire. I am so thrilled to study in Peru this summer!
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
As a child, visits to my grandmother’s house undeniably included activities that went something like this: she pointed to various body parts and household items, and I would identify them in Spanish. We would then repeat nursery rhymes, common phrases and sing songs in Spanish which soon developed into standard family favorites. These songs I have carried with me, but as I continued along my elementary school years, I developed a sort of apathy towards the Spanish language.
If I could have a few words with six-year-old Emily now, I would tell her to savor these moments because someday she will long for the opportunity to converse with her grandmother and extended family in Spanish, as well as broaden her horizons globally. Unfortunately, little-Emily’s goals were more along the lines of Barbie doll collecting than learning language and culture.
My desire to learn the Spanish language has grown immensely and is now an integral part of my academic journey. I believe that language acquisition is key to understanding different cultures and to fully taking part in the human experience.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
I hope to become conversational in Spanish so that I can accurately express myself with some degree of ease and without having to wrack my brain for different ways to express the message that I mean to convey. Not only do I hope to grow in my language skills, but I really hope that this experience will afford me with a wonderful cultural experience. Though I have dreams of traveling the world, I have not actually yet been out of the United States, and I think going to Peru will provide rich cultural exposure to a world totally different than the world I know in the United States. I am thrilled for Peru to be my first experience in engaging with other cultures.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
My specific learning goal is to be able to think in Spanish and to understand Spanish humor by the end of the summer. A friend, who is going to Ecuador for a summer internship, and I were discussing about what life will be like during our time abroad. We were talking about how when we first arrive, there will be the feeling of a personality loss founded upon the frustrating inability to express ourselves. I hope that by the time I leave, I feel that I can adequately express myself. I love to joke and tell stories and I hope that at the end of my six weeks in Peru, I will be able to feel comfortable expressing myself and accurately conveying what I mean to communicate in Spanish.
I plan to avoid speaking English to the greatest extent that I can in order to allow myself to really struggle with Spanish until I find that it is no longer so much of a struggle at the end of the summer. In Peru, I will be taking intensive language courses that amount to 4 hours of Spanish class and 2 hours of one-on-one Spanish with a language instructor per day for a total of 6 contact hours a day and 30 a week.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience: