I grew up in a small town in Connecticut and was fortunate enough to travel often with my family. I first visited St. Lawrence on the recommendation of a family friend and fell in love with the school right away due to the friendly people and beautiful campus. After four years, I can emphatically say that St. Lawrence has proven to be the perfect school for me. I love the small classes based on discussion as well talking to friends while sitting outside of my house on a sunny day. Because St. Lawrence is a liberal arts school, I have taken classes in almost every discipline. In fact, I did not plan on majoring in Spanish when I first got to St. Lawrence. I took a Spanish class to fulfill a distribution and ended up immensely enjoying the class.
One Spanish class in particular stands out to me. I took Spanish 202 with Dr. Ilia Casanova my sophomore year. This class had a community service component. For this part of the class I volunteered at Gouverneur Correctional Facility, where I taught English to Spanish speaking inmates. This stands out as one of the most worthwhile experiences of my life. Through this placement I was able to help those in need while also learning about some of the difficulties and past lives of the inmates. I truly felt like I was making a difference in the lives of those I helped. In fact, I am currently taking a class focused on the culture of the North Country that also has a community service component as well. I am again volunteering in a correctional facility because I think it is so important to help out everybody in need.
I have studied abroad both in Spain and Costa Rica. I took part in the St. Lawrence program in Spain. Living with a host family in a major city was certainly a challenge, but one that I looked at with enthusiasm. I participated in a Costa Rican summer abroad program where I volunteered teaching English at an elementary school in a rural area. This was an eye-opening experience as well. Some of the students still did not have electricity but lived their life to the fullest by appreciating the littlest things.
St. Lawrence has given me opportunities to work with those who I would have never had the chance to work with. In addition, it has allowed me to learn about different cultures so far removed from my own. Without the relentless support of my professors and my friends who provided a support system abroad, I would not have been able to enjoy these opportunities as much. As of now, I hope to travel to Ecuador this summer to experience a completely different culture. After I graduate, I plan to work as an alternative educator in Texas, where I will teach inner-city students about the environment. While my upcoming graduation will be bittersweet, I know that the Spanish program, as well as St. Lawrence in general, has prepared me well for an exciting and meaningful future.