Spanish Degrees and Certificates Open Up Career Options

Western Oregon University’s Spanish Department has three new certificates to help WOU students gain a competitive edge in the job market. The certificates are in Spanish-English Interpretation and Translation, Bilingual/Biliteracy and Social Justice and Service Learning (Bilingual). In addition to these certificate program’s, students can major in Spanish or Spanish Education, and minor in Spanish, Latin@/Chican@ Studies or Latin American Studies.

Juan Perez is a senior Spanish major with a minor in Business. To highlight WOU’s Spanish program, we spoke with Perez to ask about his experiences in this program and what it has taught him thus far.


What led you to choose the Spanish Program at WOU?

I initially was a Spanish Education major, but I decided to focus more on Spanish and learn as much as possible. As a native speaker and living in Mexico for the first 10 years of my life, I identify myself deeply with the language and culture I grew up in. At WOU, while taking the required courses for the Spanish Education major, I just realized how much more I could learn. The faculty and staff in the department have so much to offer, and I wanted to focus on learning more from them. It was not until my third year that I transitioned from Education to Spanish, and I continued to focus on something that I truly enjoy. Dr. Patricia Giménez-Eguíbar and Dr. Marroquín were huge influences on my decision as they showed their passion for the language, and I thrived to be as knowledgeable as them. Personally, I just felt welcome and a part of the program instantly. 


What has been your favorite class in the program?

One of the most challenging and just fascinating courses I have taken in the program has been SPAN 480 History of Spanish Language. In this course, I learned so much about the development of the Spanish language from our ancestor languages such as Latin. Although it was probably the toughest class I might have taken, it has been my favorite class, and I know I will continue to study that subject further in the future. 


What is your intended career?

I eventually would like to teach Spanish at a higher education setting. I want to teach at the college level and motivate and inspire students to want to learn more about this amazing subject. 


How has your participation in the Spanish Program aided you in your career path?

To be simplistic, I would say that the connection created between myself and the faculty has been of great aid. Learning and being part of the program has been so rewarding, but having professors who truly go out of their way to help students has been great to have. The guidance and help to plan my career path along my professors and advisers has been such a great and positive experience for me to follow a rewarding career that I know I will enjoy. 


Are you part of any campus clubs/groups?

I have attended meetings and events organized by different clubs/groups such as the Multicultural Student Union. I have also been part of the Men’s Soccer Club for four years and have been the president of such for the past two years.


What has been your favorite experience from this program?

My favorite experience from the program has been the connections I get to build with my professors. Learning and getting to know more from them has been fantastic. Coming from a small town in Mexico and being limited to my immediate culture to taking courses, experiencing, and learning about the language and its connections to cultures around the world has been something special and unique. My entire experience has been something I never thought I would get at a college, so I am thankful for such. 

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