A recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Graduating Senior in Spanish award, Jennifer Musgrove majors in Spanish with a minor in criminal justice. During her undergraduate career at Iowa State, Jennifer enjoyed working with students as Spanish Club President last semester and currently as one of the Spring 2015 WLC Global Student Ambassadors. While an undergraduate Jennifer studied abroad twice, in 2011 and then again in 2014, through the ISU on the Mediterranean-Summer in Valencia, Spain Program. The second trip abroad she was thrilled to return as a teaching assistant through a special student scholarship provided each year by the program which included an internship in an English language academy where she loved working with Spanish students of all ages. After graduation, Jennifer plans to continue her education through Iowa State University’s TESL/Applied Linguistics M.A. Program and is eagerly anticipating a teaching assistantship through the Department of World Languages and Cultures teaching Spanish 101 this fall.
Q: How has learning Spanish transformed your life?
A: When I initially registered for classes as a freshman I had a declared major in another field of study and my advisor explained that I was required to complete two years of foreign language studies. I selected Spanish 101 with Prof. Marta Lence and stepped into the classroom the first day feeling extremely nervous and worried because I had always heard that learning another language was difficult. But, to my surprise, I loved learning Spanish and looked forward to class every day! The real transformation for me took place during my two study abroad experiences in Valencia, Spain. The first experience taught me that as a student I could successfully immerse myself into the language and culture while living abroad and I came away with increased confidence in the language. While abroad I also recognized that my future professional goals had to be Spanish language centered for me to thrive personally and professionally so after returning home, I changed my major to Spanish. The second trip abroad as a teaching assistant confirmed to me that my true passion, the scientific study of second language acquisition and working with university students in order to provide them with a quality L2 learning experience within the Spanish language. I hope to inspire students who may initially plan on just fulfilling the minimum foreign language requirements within their major to continue their language studies and become professionally proficient speakers.
Q: What advice do you have for beginning and intermediate level students?
A: When I begin teaching Spanish 101 this fall I can’t wait to tell my students the great news that learning another language is a realistic and attainable goal for them. All it takes is time and practice and the willingness to relax and allow themselves to make many, many mistakes along the way. Also, I encourage students to meet with our WLC advisor, Dr. Sandra Looft, as well as our WLC Global Student Ambassadors if they are thinking about studying abroad. Dr. Looft is extremely knowledgeable about the programs available to students and can find a study abroad program that best fits each individual student’s academic needs. The WLC ambassadors are glad to share with students the specifics of their own study abroad experiences and students can drop by and visit with an ambassador during weekly office hours throughout the semester.
Q: If you were to learn another language in addition to Spanish, what would it be?
A: I would love to learn American Sign Language (ASL). It is an elegant and beautiful language that would enable me to communicate with our Deaf community. While in middle school and high school I tried the self-taught route because there were no formal classes available. However, ISU has an excellent ASL Program that I’d like to learn more about.