By: Ella Myrthil
A new minor, “Spanish for service and the professions” was added to the academic curriculum in the fall of 2020. The addition to the center of intercultural studies department furthers global enrichment on campus.
“Learning about another culture and language can enrich your life—it gives you the opportunity to go places, meet new people and see things you have never seen before,” Dr. Camelly Cruz-Martes, professor of Spanish, said. Cruz-Martes is new to Malone’s faculty but is passionate about teaching the Spanish language and culture to students.
“Learning [language and culture] together not only makes you a better person, but also gives you an edge in your future [profession] that other employees won’t have,” Cruz-Martes said.
The Spanish for service and the professions minor requires 120 hours of internship to put global enrichment into practice. The goal for this experience is for students to use the knowledge and terminology they learn in preparation for their future careers.
“I want the students to use their Spanish [skills] to understand social issues, cultural problems, mental health and more,” Cruz-Martes said. “This minor pairs well with several majors. The idea is to integrate what you learn in your major or other minors to think critically about issues in both English and Spanish.”
“Everything is integrated now—the internet, the way we’re living,” Cruz-Martes said. “When you think about the COVID-19 virus, it makes us more aware that we are all connected. But from that we have to understand that the way people see it and deal with it in other places is different. The more you know how to deal with the differences and how to adapt to a new culture, the better you will do in your future job.”
“I definitely think it is important to learn about another culture,” Myriah Smith, sophomore communication arts major, said. “Better understanding someone helps you to better love them, and [my] Spanish classes are helping me to do that.”
Smith took Intermediate Spanish I last semester and is currently in the Intermediate Spanish II course.
“Knowing another language can benefit me after college as well, since the United States is getting more and more diverse,” Smith said. “Communication arts is broad, so knowing another language will give me an edge. It’ll be nice to communicate with more people than I would have been able to.”
Not many other colleges have this type of program; Spanish for service and the professions is a multidisciplinary minor made to prepare students for their professional career or future service. Both Cruz-Martes and Elizabeth Patterson Roe, director of the center for intercultural studies, are thrilled to bring this global opportunity to campus.
“The world is here: it’s in our backyard, and there’s diversity right here,” Roe said. “If we truly want to love our neighbor as ourselves, then learning a [new] language can be a huge part of that.”
Both Cruz-Martes and Roe believe that in order to fulfill the mission of Malone—to serve the church, the community, and the world—we need to be people who want to truly live out Christ’s kingdom first. They encourage students to be these kinds of people by offering help to students so they first know about the world.
“I can imagine almost any major potentially interacting with people from diverse backgrounds,” Roe said. “We strongly believe it’s not just about knowing about the world and serving it, but [also about] how we can also tie that into our other fields of study.”
“Learning about other cultures is a great skill set [to have, enabling us] to be able to meet people where they are at,” Roe said. “We really believe that our students are going to be better prepared to serve the church, community and world if they expand their learning to global learning.
“If you really want to serve well in an empowering way, learning even a little bit of a language can go a long way with understanding cultures and what people are communicating,” Roe said. “We realize not everyone is going to be fluent in another language, but the more that we can get closer to that, the better, even if it starts with just a couple of words and grows from there.”
The global and international studies major is a specialized secondary major built to complement any primary major similar to the complementary studies of the Spanish for learning and the professions minor. This secondary major program not only requires academic learning in the classroom, but a study abroad semester and a local internship experience with immigrants or international people living locally as well.
Cruz-Martes and Roe are passionate about both avenues to help students have the knowledge and practical experience they need to be prepared to serve.