Importance Of Bilingualism

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“Do you know President Obama?”
“Why do you call it soccer?”
“Do you eat pizza everyday?”

These are the types of questions I got the first time I traveled abroad. At twelve years old, I was somehow able to convince my overprotective Colombian mother to let me travel to Bloxham, England and spend one week with a host family. With my sense of adventure and the willingness of my middle school PTA to fully sponsor me, it was hard for my mom to say no. In just seven short days, I instantly gained a passion for traveling, an interest in exploring cultures, and the eagerness to step out of my comfort zone.

Since then my passions have only grown stronger and when I applied to college I made sure to choose schools with strong study abroad programs.
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I will be taking three classes (all which will count directly towards my GPA) and I am most excited for SPAN-313-60, Bilingualism: The Mind and Its Context. This course covers external factors as they relate to bilingualism, including language policy and bilingual education as well as internal, cognitive factors and the relationship between both. My readings will focus not only on Spain, but will analyze individual and societal bilingualism in Latin America and the US. My other two courses are just as interesting and are the History & Politics of National Identity and Advanced Spanish for …show more content…
Although Spanish is my first language, I do not speak as fluently as I would like. Through my study abroad in Barcelona, I hope to expand my use of Spanish to be comfortable speaking in professional/business settings and improve my writing skills. When I graduate college, I would like to use my fluency in Spanish to either work in nonprofit development in Latin America or join the State Department. Other plans I am considering are applying for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Madrid or obtaining a masters in International Education.

As a low income student, the opportunity to apply for the Gilman scholarship means so much for me. I always wanted to study abroad during college, but my current major makes it difficult for me to go abroad during the school year. This leaves me with the only option to go during the summer, however, this creates a new problem; funding. During the school year my financial aid would transfer over to my host institution, during the summer it does not and I need to find outside sources to pay for tuition, boarding, and my

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