Alex spent three months putting his Spanish minor to task at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile, where he worked with a multicultural team to promote the commercial relationship between the U.S. and Chile. Alex reports, “My language skills were vital in interpreting Chilean laws, customs, and import regulations, as well as for providing translation services regarding memoranda written to international dignitaries and officials.
In the Embassy, I also provided critical interpreting support to a team of Special Agents from the US Department of Commerce, who came to Chile to review export licenses for products deemed sensitive to national security.
Drake's WLC Department, particularly courses offered by Prof. Mazar and Prof. Pinheiro-Cadd, did a superior job preparing me for this tremendous professional and cultural experience.”
WLC congratulates Kathleen McCracken on receiving the 2019 Edward C. Truman Award for Outstanding Student in the Humanities. Each year, the Center for the Humanities confers the Edward C. Truman Award upon a Drake junior who has made outstanding achievements, both in and out of the classroom, in the humanities. Kathleen is an International Relations major with minors in French, Arabic, and Religion. She writes, "I am very honored to be one of the two recipients of the 2019 Edward C. Truman Award. It is very humbling to be an awardee. I especially appreciate the fact that this award recognizes work in the humanities and humanistic inquiry as this is a subject area that I find very fulfilling."
In the World Languages and Cultures department, actions and collaborative innovative techniques in acquiring foreign languages have helped students learn and speak foreign languages from the very first semester! WLC is proud to present two of our students, Kathleen and Alex, who took the Beginning Arabic I class in Fall 2018, and by the end of the semester, they were able to have a basic conversation in Arabic.
If you are interested in Arabic language and culture, you too can be part of our Arabic Studies Program. A minor in Arabic is also available. Arabic may be one of the less commonly taught languages, but it is greatly needed in the United States; it is considered one of the critical languages by the Department of Defense.
Former students Jonathon Allred and Cherri Cathi, who taught in the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, are still living and working in Tokyo. Cherri comments, “After graduating Drake University, I moved to a small town in Japan as an English teacher through the JET Program. It was an amazing 3 years and after my contract ended, I was (and still am) not ready to return to the States. So I decided to move to Tokyo in September 2016, and have since been working at a Japanese career website company as Media Sales Support staff. I handle my day-to-day work all in Japanese and provide advice to clients on how to improve their self-promotion on our company website. It has always been a goal of mine to challenge myself to work in a Japanese business setting and now I am here!"
“While at Drake, I took Spanish classes and cultural classes in the WLC program. I also had the opportunity to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain for a month one summer. After I graduated from Drake in May of 2016, I moved to the small town of Cehegín, in the region of Murcia in Spain in September of 2016. I spent eight months there and I taught English in an elementary school. I then moved to Santiago, Chile last November. I am teaching English in a school, as well as working with an organization called Kingdom Workers. The WLC program at Drake helped to motivate me to pursue options of work in other countries and with other cultures. Both through language classes and cultural classes at Drake, I was prepared to take on the Spanish language and the different cultures when I moved to Spain and Chile. Through those classes at Drake, it made me want to go and experience these cultures. Not only am I able to use the Spanish language skills that I acquired at Drake, but I am also able to use the culture skills that I learned- whether that was in general how to handle culture shock or reverse culture shock or just from learning the general culture of these countries and learning how to adapt to new cultures. Throughout my time in Spain, I was also able to travel to other countries throughout Europe, and now in my time in Chile, I am able to travel to other countries in South America, and again, the culture classes at Drake helped me to adapt to these new situations.”
"After I graduated from Drake, I went to China on the Teach in China program. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after college and this seemed like a good chance to learn about a completely different culture. I had only planned on staying in China for a year, but I was honestly so mesmerized by the scenery of Guilin, the large differences in culture, and the complexity of the language that I decided to stay for a few more. I worked at the Guangxi Normal University teaching English and studying Chinese for 3 years. During my fourth year, I was promoted to the Director of Foreign Staff where I was able to use the management skills I learned at Drake and also develop my communication and problem-solving skills. This year, because of my experience living in China and Mandarin skills, I got a job as a Travel Writer and Editor at China Highlights which is the top tour company for American and European travelers who want private tours in China. I have learned and grown more than I can describe in words through this experience and I am very grateful for the opportunity to go to China which I wouldn't have had without Drake."
Special cultural events are held on campus throughout the year, and students are also encouraged to participate in activities and service learning projects throughout the greater Des Moines community. For example, in Spring 2016, Spanish students created the below video that is used for staff trainings at Primary Health Care.