Ifft, Kassadee

E-mail: kifft@nd.edu

Language: Spanish

Location of Study: Cusco, Peru

Program of Study: Maximo Nivel Intensive Language Program

Sponsors: The Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the College of Arts and Letters, and the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures

Blog URL: https://sites.nd.edu/sla2018/author/kifft/


A brief personal bio:

Hola! My name is Kassadee Ifft and I am currently a rising junior double majoring in Spanish and Psychology. When I am not studying or sleeping, you can find me pole vaulting for the varsity track team or planning events for the University’s Camp Kesem chapter. My undergraduate experience at Notre Dame has done many things for me, though discovering a passion for the Spanish language is my favorite. This passion ultimately led to my application for the SLA program. I have never left the country before, but am looking forward to everything Cusco, Peru has to offer!

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

As I continue studying Spanish, I am constantly reminded that it is much more than a language. Spanish is vibrant culture, beautiful tradition, and complex history. Using Spanish to navigate everyday life incorporates each of these pieces together, which is why a complete immersion through this SLA is so important. Additionally, being vulnerable to mistakes in the authentic situations presented throughout my time in Cusco will allow me to grow both as a student and as a Spanish speaker. Aside from my Notre Dame education, this SLA experience will play a critical role in my career after college. The United States currently has more than 37 million Spanish speakers, and as this number continues to grow, so does the need for multilingual individuals in the workplace. Though I have not decided exactly what career I would like to peruse, having Spanish language skills and a sense of cultural competency will be extremely necessary for any field of work. I have 7 weeks in which to soak up as much Spanish language and culture as I possibly can. Exploring historical locations, tasting Peruvian cuisine, and participating in authentic traditions are just three ways in which I plan to accomplish this. I feel extremely blessed to be a 2018 SLA recipient and look forward to the journey that awaits me in Peru!

What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:

Through this experience, I hope to greatly increase my Spanish vocabulary and level of fluency. I want to be able to speak effectively without first having to translate all my English thoughts to Spanish. Achieving this goal will allow me to feel comfortable conversing about diverse topics such as culture, religion, arts, business, and values while gaining an intimate understanding of the world through a Peruvian perspective. Additionally, I hope to create many new friendships. I believe that building strong connections with the people I meet will be an integral part of my experience in Peru because they will outlast the trip itself. Even when I am no longer physically in Peru, the relationships I create will always tie me there. Upon return to school, I anticipate a new sense of motivation towards achieving my Spanish major. Not only to maintain my language skills, but to continually add meaning to the new community I discover in Cusco.

My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:

1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to incorporate all verb tenses into Spanish conversations without hesitation.

2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to understand how the unique culture and traditions in Peru contribute to the identity of its citizens.

3. At the end of the summer, I will be able to engage in extensive Spanish conversation with native speakers on a wide variety of topics.

4. At the end of the summer, I will be able to demonstrate a greater understanding of the intercultural relations between the Latin American and American cultures.

5. At the end of the summer, I will be able to make Spanish friends and understand Spanish television programs without English subtitles.