by Haley Dwyer
My name is Haley Dwyer and I am a sophomore studying Global Studies with a minor in Spanish. I am excited to be sharing my experiences with the Spanish & Illinois blog this semester. I have been studying Spanish since the 7th grade, but I did not really gain the love for it until my senior year of high school. Coming into high school I was placed in a Spanish that was too advanced for me, so I struggled greatly with the language. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school, when I took a trip to Mexico with my family, that I realized my love for the language. Studying Spanish in college has been a thrilling and eye opening experience for me so far and I can’t wait for the many experiences that this semester of my community volunteering will bring me.
Although many of the people who are taking SPAN 232 have already studied abroad, I am not one of those lucky people yet. Next semester though, I will be embarking on my own adventure overseas in Bilbao, Spain. I have looked forward to studying abroad since high school so needless to say I cannot wait to go to Spain. Bilbao is the reason that I took this Spanish class. I hope that when I arrive in Bilbao I will be able to communicate and participate with the people so that I can get the best out of my opportunity to be there.
This semester, I will be volunteering at the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center (ECIRMAC) in Urbana, IL. ECIRMAC helps refugees from all over the globe with a variety of issue. While I am at the center I have done a variety of things so far, everything from filing paperwork to translating Peruvian diplomas. So far it has been a challenging yet rewarding experience and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the semester brings. I hope that I will be able to learn about the lives of immigrants from all over the globe while utilizing my Spanish skills. Check back for more updates about my time at the Center!