2014 Lycoming College Spring Magazine - page 5

Iwas fortunate to grow up in a small
rural community in centralKentucky at a
timewhen the local school board seized
the opportunity to begin offeringSpanish
to students in the sixth grade.Aftermy
first yearwith awonderful teacher from
Cuba, Iwas hooked and knewwhat I
wanted to do for the rest ofmy life.
Whatare thebenefitsof learninga
second language?
The benefits of learning a second
language are numerous. Language study
opens a door to the possibility of global
citizenship. It does this by fostering
an appreciation of other cultureswhile
simultaneously givingus the perspective
fromwhichwe canbetter understand
our own culture. In otherwords, through
language and cultural study, it is possible
to recognize the complexities of cultural
difference and to question commonly-
held assumptions about one’s own
culture. Language study also helps us
better understand and use our native
language. It positively impacts the
businessworld and social servicefields,
among others. Personally, learning a
second language has particularly enriched
my life due to the friendships thatwere
born because I could speakSpanish and
the literaturewritten inSpanish that I
study and cherish.
Whatdoyou likebestabout teaching
at thecollege?
Workingwith students of course! I am
thankful that at Lycoming small classes
are the norm.Whether in an intermediate
language class, an introductory literature
course or an advanced topics course, it
is extremely rewarding to help students
gain confidence, improve their language
skills and acquire a deeper understanding
of the literature, art, history or culture
thatwe study. I am also grateful for the
insights that they sharewithme.My
contactwith students goes far beyond
the classroom, and I take great pleasure
inworkingwith them one-on-one in
my officewhere the task varies from an
oral interview, assistancewith a difficult
grammatical structure, composition
rewrites or student research projects.
Additionally, teaching allowsme to
remainwhat I’ve alwayswanted to be – a
lifelong student.Whether I’m developing
new courses, improving ones I’ve already
taught or conducting research andwriting
professionally, I am forever grateful for
the opportunity to be a teacher-scholar, a
profession that bringsme joy.
Howwouldyou like tosee theModern
Agoalmany of us share is to encourage
more students to continue their language
study evenwhen their distribution
requirement is fulfilled. This goal is
aided by colleagues in other departments
whenever they recognize and support
their advisees’ interest inmodern
languages. Collaborativework onMay
terms between theHistoryDepartment
andModernLanguages has been
fruitful andwill continue. In terms of
Spanish, Iwould like toworkwithDr.
[Ryan]Adams in anthropology andDr.
[Christopher] Pearl in history to develop
aLatinAmericanStudiesminor. If
challenges in staffingwere not an issue,
I have longwanted to develop aSpanish
course at the intermediate level for
students pursuing business. Finally,my
colleagues and I are discussing newways
to promote international study.
Howwouldyoudescribeyour roleas
directorof internationaleducation?
I am convinced that international
educationoffers another avenue that leads
to global citizenship, and study abroad is
often “life-changing” (in a positiveway!)
formany students.Mywork in this area
has enabledme to get to know students
whom I probablywouldn’t havemet
otherwise. I have also enjoyedworking
closelywith a number of individuals and
offices to improve the process and better
serve our students. Currently, I recognize
a new commitment to internationalize our
campus by sendingmore students abroad
and bywelcoming toLycomingmore
students from other countries. These
goals require continued collaboration and
new support services.A full-time director
would enhance the realization of our
goals to develop new exchange programs
and affiliations, support students
throughout the application process, aid
them in funding their program of study
and assist them in rejoining the college
community upon their return.
BarbaraFoleyBuedel isTheRobert and
CharleneShangrawProfessor inSpanish
and director of international education.
Her teaching interests are varied, and she
offers courses throughout theSpanish
curriculum on language, literature and
culture. She earned a bachelor’s in
Spanish at theUniversity ofKentucky,
where shewas an activemember of the
Honors Program.As a teaching fellow
atYaleUniversity, she earned amaster’s
inSpanish and amaster’s in philosophy
before earning a doctorate inSpanish
BarbaraBuedel, Ph.D.
Professor of Spanish
Director of International Education
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