In Class

February 23, 2016 at 4:17 pm

Spanish Fuels Passion, Forms Connections for Sophomore

Madison Eblen

Madison Eblen

By Juliana Scheiderer ’16

Sophomore Spanish and journalism major Madison Eblen is setting off on the trip of a lifetime, to study abroad in Toledo, Spain this summer.

Her journey is sparked by the desire to explore new places and new cultures, and to gain new perspectives on the world. For Eblen, this is what studying languages is all about.

Drawing from her experience studying Spanish, Eblen explains why she feels it’s important to study languages and why the Modern Languages Department here at OHIO is the best place to do so.

“I think studying Spanish is valuable because there are a lot of people in our own country that speak Spanish, as well as around the world,” Eblen explained. “Learning any language is important because you’re able to communicate with a greater number of people.”

Eblen also noted how studying languages allows students to form connections, both with native speakers and their fellow classmates.

“Meeting people through Spanish classes and activities allows you to share your passion for the language,” she said. “You’re able to practice speaking to each other. You connect over Spanish jokes and shared references.”

As for the department’s environment, Eblen cites small class sizes and supportive professors with providing an environment conducive to learning a foreign language.

A Close-Knit Department

“I really appreciate the small class sizes here. There are just 10 to 20 people at most per class. It’s more intimate. You can get to know everyone and kind of form a family, which carries over to other classes,” she explained. “It’s a small, close-knit department of faculty and students.”

For those who may be struggling with the task of learning a language, Eblen emphasized the importance of persistence.

“Don’t blow it off. Stick with it. It might be hard at times. You might get tired of it, but in the end it’s worth it. It’s worth the experience,” she said. “You might get discouraged and you might think, ‘I’ll never be fluent.’ But if you stick with it, you’ll get there.”

A Trip Across the Pond

As part of her requirements for her Spanish major (and to satiate her wanderlust), Eblen has decided to study abroad in Toledo, Spain this summer.  As she’s never traveled across the pond, Eblen is excited to see what Europe has to offer.

“I love the idea that in Europe you can drive for an hour and maybe be in a different country,” she said. “I’ve never been to that part of the world and experienced that.”

Once she arrives in Spain, Eblen said she plans on traveling throughout the country and the continent.

“I definitely want to see Barcelona, and see Gaudi’s architecture, because you don’t see that type of stuff in the United States,” she said. “I also want to see Madrid, as well as go to other countries like France, Germany and Portugal.”

Eblen is also excited to have the opportunity to be completely immersed in the Spanish language and culture.

“I think I’ll learn more Spanish in those two months in Spain than I’ve learned so far through classes,” Eblen explained. “I’m excited to be exposed to different accents and Spanish slang.”

Aside from language proficiency, Eblen hopes to gain lasting memories on her trip.

“Overall, I hope to have a good experience that will benefit me academically and personally. I want this trip to be something I look back on for years to come,” she said.

Preparing for Her Future

When she’s not planning her next trip around the world, Eblen can be found writing for Backdrop Magazine, heading up Spanish Club and contributing to her residence hall’s council. Two majors and a full involvement calendar keep Eblen busy, but she’s grateful for the opportunities she’s had to explore her interests at OHIO.

Some of Eblen’s career aspirations include publishing, magazine editing, and working for a non-profit. No matter what path she chooses, Eblen hopes to be able to user her Spanish language skills in some way.

“Studying Spanish has introduced me to a different side of the world and has allowed me to be more open-minded,” she said. “I never want to let that go to waste.”

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