Melvin Clark, B.A. Psychology, Spanish Minor, Class of 2014
Since my first Spanish course my sophomore year of high school, I have been in love with language learning. From learning Spanish vocabulary in high school to taking the Institute of Cervantes DELE exam (B2) in Madrid, a national exam that certifies language fluency, it has been an exciting journey that I would recommend every person take part in.
When I arrived at UNC Greensboro, I knew I would major in psychology and minor in Spanish. Prior to arriving in 2010 I had taken all the Spanish courses my high school offered, thus, I was able to place out of the 100-level courses. I remember during Professor Alice Hill’s intermediate Spanish course being introduced to the idea of studying abroad by Professor Margo Bender. Initially I was closed off to the idea, but when she gave the same presentation at Café Olé, I considered the opportunity. That opportunity has made all the difference. After taking a few more Spanish courses in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, I decided to study abroad in Spain during the summer program. This 5-week experience gave me a rich experience of Spain and Spanish culture. During my conversations with Spanish speakers I could remember feeling my language abilities being stretched as I progressively came to understand more of my conversations with my host family, professors, and friends. As enriching as this experience was, though, it was only the tip of the iceberg for my language study.
During the spring semester of 2014 I chose to study abroad in Spain again in the region of Extremadura in a small town named Cáceres. This experience improved my language ability exponentially. As a result of building relationships with natives of Cáceres, international students, and my peers from UNCG, I was able to go from being “conversational” in Spanish to having an advanced level of language fluency. During my time in Spain I was inspired to sit for the national language certification exam given by the Institute of Cervantes. The DELE exam (Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera) measures foreign language learners’ Spanish fluency and gives a certificate denoting their language level based on three levels (A-beginner/immediate; B-advanced; C-native/professional). I tested on the B2 level and successfully passed the exam. After returning from Spain, I graduated in December of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Since graduating I have worked here in Greensboro at Gilbarco Veeder-Root. I am currently applying to graduate school to get a master’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology. I plan to enroll the fall of 2016.
My experience abroad matured me and prepared me for life after graduation in ways that I never could have imagined when I was filling out the application. The semester abroad in Spain has by far been the greatest experience of my life. Studying Spanish in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at UNCG gave me skills that I can and have applied to my life each day. I now feel that I have access to Spanish-speaking cultures as a result of my language ability, and I look forward to using Spanish to study my next language.