by Nicole Tauster
Last semester (Fall 2014) I took SPAN 232 with Ann and this semester (Spring 2015) I was able to take SPAN 332. I immensely enjoyed both classes and would thoroughly recommend them to anyone! Not only did I learn a lot inside the classroom, both from Ann and my classmates, but with the unique opportunity to volunteer outside of class I really broadened my horizons.
Both of these courses are designed to teach us about the Latino immigration in the U.S. and even more specifically in our local community of Champaign-Urbana. In class I learned about the countless dangers immigrants face just trying to reach the U.S. and the myriad of problems that await them when they do arrive. I learned that the U.S. has made it nearly impossible for anyone to enter the country legally or become a legal citizen and that is why so many immigrants are here illegally. Out in the community I learned that many immigrants are honest, hardworking people who want nothing more than to be here legally and receive the rights they deserve as human beings. I learned that even though many people think illegal immigrants aren’t contributing to our society and economy, it’s just the opposite. They work, earn paychecks, and part of their wages go to state and federal taxes, just like everyone else’s. I learned so much about these people, but I also learned about myself.
I always knew I wanted to work with people—I am, after all, the definition of a “people person”—but now I have considered working with immigrants, or at least educating others about their plight. I learned that speaking Spanish with people is something I want to keep doing. Because of this I decided to apply to jobs to teach English in Spain after graduation. I am happy to say I was accepted to program through CIEE and will be headed to Madrid in Fall 2015! And I am also happy to say that I think the things I learned in SPAN 232 and 332 and the skills I gained from volunteering in the community will only benefit me and aid me in my job next year. Working with adults and children alike and with many diverse people from backgrounds very different than mine has been preparation for what I think I will face in Spain. So take these courses—and take them seriously! Ann makes them very fun, but think of them as more than just class credits. Ann—and her wonderful classes—may just open your eyes and change your life!