My name is Angela Smith Kirkman, and I am a CC alum from 1995. I graduated as a Romance Languages Major, along with my husband Jason Kirkman who graduated in the same year as a Bio-Chemistry Major.
We recently returned to the US after traveling for two years around the world and homeschooling our three children. We just unveiled our new web site (www.TheBigFieldTrip.com) in which we are posting travelogues and recipes from around the world. A number of our friends from CC have been following the blog and urged us to share it with you so that the CC community might be able to follow our adventure.
I still don’t know what foolish notion possessed us to drop everything and drag our act to a dozen countries across five continents on a two-year, around-the-world journey. Despite the irrational notions that originally motivated the expedition, we somehow survived to tell the tale. We’ve had two years back in the States now to regroup and re-acclimate to life as normal people. During the time since our return, my husband, Jason, and I have both been working feverishly to document everything we learned along the journey. Jason has been perfecting the recipes he learned in each country, and I have had a chance to edit all of my photographs, videos, and travelogues. We’re finally ready to share anew what we learned on the road, and we hope you’ll come along with us for the ride.
Before we originally set off on the journey, Jason received a grant from a non‑profit in Santa Fe that had caught wind of our harebrained scheme and funded the creation of a website, which our children used throughout the adventure to post homeschool reports, photos, and videos. Though I’m rather partial to the idea of recounting our story in the format of a Rockumentary (ala The Partridge Family), we’ve decided that (for now at least) perhaps the web site is the most appropriate format to share our tale.
Hence, without further ado (drum roll, please), I am very excited to introduce The (new and improved) Big Field Trip: www.TheBigFieldTrip.com
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheBigFieldTrip
Angela Cobian ’11
Minoring in Spanish has played a key component in my life after college. As part of Teach for America, I taught in an English-Language Acquisition-Spanish classroom. This meant that all of my students had received Native Language Instruction in Spanish since preschool. It was my job to not only continue teaching in Spanish for a semester, but also transition students to English-language instruction. Having a thorough grasp of Spanish allowed me to teach content in the language, and more importantly--it allowed me to create a meaningful relationship with the families of my students. I could engage with parents in their native language. This was an important tool that facilitated the investment of students and families in an educational partnership. In the upcoming year, I will again use my Spanish as an English-Language Assistant in Mexico, through the Fulbright program. A strong command of the language was a prerequisite for the program, and I am certain the Spanish Department at CC prepared me to succeed in both Teach for America and the Fulbright Program.
Billy Blaustein '09
Upon graduating from CC cum laude with a major in International Political Economics and a minor in Spanish, Billy headed South of the border. On a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship, he completed a year of graduate study in economics at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México in Mexico City (2010-2011). Billy then joined The Boston Consulting Group's Mexico City office where he worked as the only American in the office for two years. On projects across the US, México and Brazil, he developed his analytical and professional skill set. Billy has since left BCG to pursue his interests with technology start-ups. He is currently launching the on-demand luxury car service Uber in Mexico City. In August, 2013 he will begin his MBA at UC Berkeley Haas, with a focus on technology start-ups between California and Latin America. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, and will always thank Sal Bizarro and Peter Blasenheim from CC for their continual support and guidance during his young career.
Bill and Jaemy Bush, '04
Jaemey and I have great memories of our time in the Spanish department. When we had just started dating we took a Spanish poetry class together. Later, during Jaemey's study abroad in Chile we were able to experience the poetry in-person as we visited one of Pablo Neruda's houses overlooking Vina del Mar.
After graduating in 2004, we moved to Chicago and got married in October of that year. In the following years we both attended graduate school; Jaemey at Wheaton College for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)and me for a Physician Assistant degree at Midwestern University. In 2008 we moved to a neighborhood on the W side of Chicago called La Villita which is the largest Mexican American Community in the Midwest. I have been working at Lawndale Christian Health Center as PA since 2004 where almost all of my patients are Spanish-speaking. The ability to communicate with my patients in their first language definitely improves clinical decisions and also helps me quickly establish rapport.
Jaemey is a full-time mom and we now have two kids (Jaron, 5 and Risa, 2). She often uses her Spanish as she gets to know neighbors and during day-to-day activities.
A lot has happened since graduating in 2004, but through it all, we have enjoyed finding ways to make use of our Spanish degree.
Rebecca Thompson, '12
My first year out of CC has been interesting and full of many adventures! The summer of 2012 I spent on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts working in a B&B called the Cuttyhunk Fishing Club. It was a very busy, but very enjoyable, summer and I was able to save up enough money to spend October and November backpacking throughout Europe with a CC cross country teammate. We travelled in Vienna, Prague, Bavaria (Germany), the Swiss Alps, Florence, Rome, Tuscany, Paris, Brugge, Amsterdam, Aarus (Denmark), Copenhagen, and Stockholm. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about western European culture, art, and food. In December I returned to Seattle, WA, and from January to June worked as a private high school tutor in math, Spanish, and English. I found that I love tutoring and am hoping to gain some experience teaching to see if I'd like to pursue a career in education.
This summer I am working at an up-and-coming summer camp in Seattle called Steve and Kate's Camp that emphasizes didactic learning and self-taught skills for children ages 4-13. This September I am moving to Cadiz, Spain for a job teaching English and will be there until the end of May 2014. I am very excited to spend 8 months in Spain and to see the famous artwork and buildings, and to experience first hand the culture that I spent so many blocks learning about at CC. I hope to become fluent in Spanish so that I may return to the U.S. and work in a bilingual environment. I continue to enjoy traveling and am excited for this opportunity to not only live in Spain, but also to travel to various countries nearby (Morocco and Portugal are on the top of my list!). My Spanish education at CC has given me a passion for the Spanish language, culture, and history, and has greatly influenced my life after CC by motivating me to get to Spain. So here I am, preparing for a year teaching and living in Cadiz!
My plans after that are currently up in the air. I may stay another year in Spain, or I may return to the U.S. and pursue a job or masters degree in education, or something completely different if I find that teaching is not my greatest passion.
My name is Emma Epstein. I graduated in 2009 with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in Spanish. Since graduating, Spanish skills has helped me in almost 100% of the jobs I've done.
I have worked at a restaurant, running after-school programs in immigrant communities, worked with detainees as a legal assistant and in between jobs, done private Spanish tutoring. This coming Fall, one of the students I have privately tutored wants me to take him to Central America and chaperon his immersion. Today, I am a community organizer in the Hispanic communities around immigration reform. The benefits of speaking Spanish in our country today are endless.
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