A Global Student
College of Liberal Arts graduate Julia Potach began learning and speaking Spanish at a very young age. She attended a Spanish immersion elementary school and continued her studies through high school. When it came time to choose a language to study in college, it was not surprising that she chose to continue learning Spanish. As a freshman, Julia tested into an advanced-level Spanish course, SPAN 3015: Spanish Composition and Communication. This class challenged her in many new ways and further pushed her to pursue her studies in the language. “It showed me that while learning the language itself is an important aspect of learning Spanish, it also is essential to learn about literatures and histories of the Spanish-speaking world.” She declared her Spanish major by the end of that semester.
While a student in the Spanish and Portuguese department, Julia participated in a service-learning class about Latino immigration in the Twin Cities. She was able to use and cultivate her Spanish-speaking skills to communicate and connect with others in her community in meaningful ways. This experience also led her to seek out other volunteer and internship organizations that work with immigrants in the Twin Cities, which, in turn, has motivated her to attend law school to become an immigration lawyer in the future after she returns from her time as a Fulbright Scholar in Spain.
During fall semester of her junior year, Julia also traveled to study and intern in Quito, Ecuador. In her time spent abroad, Julia aided in the creation of a national referendum in effort to stop oil drilling in Yasuni National Park. “This internship experience enabled me to grow in my Spanish language skills, but also to explore the intersections of my academic interests in Latin America, human rights and development, and to gain new perspectives about each of those areas.”
Through all of her studies in CLA and in the Spanish and Portuguese department, specifically, Julia discovered her own strengths and weaknesses, how to overcome them, and what it means to be citizen of the world. She encourages current students to “get involved in as many activities as you can outside of the classroom that allow you to use your Spanish.” She can attest to the importance of these experiences in her life.