¿Qué tal? My name is Riley Hunter and I’m an Augsburg graduate from the class of 2015. While I majored in Communications, my minor in Spanish reflected my sustained interest in the language that I began studying on a whim in junior high. Little did I know the extent to which it would enhance my ability to relate to others, develop my intercultural knowledge, and, of course, establish my proficiency in a highly spoken language that is both beautiful and practical.
During my time at Augsburg, I was involved with Spanish both in and out of the classroom. My favorite coursework included SPA 311: Conversation and Composition, SPA 332: Latin American Civilization and Culture, and SPA 248: Hispanic Film. Augsburg encourages students to apply their learning in the city and the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as on campus. True to this mission, I helped create a short documentary film about a mural on the side of a gorditas restaurant on Lake Street; researched and presented on intercultural discrepancies in political, familial, and colloquial humor; wrote a student newspaper piece examining of the state of Spanish language education; and reflected on how the language functions as a comparative lens through which to view English and U.S. culture.
Academics are just part of the picture, however. I spent several semesters tutoring students in beginning- and intermediate-level courses as part of my work study allocation. I also frequently participated in Conversación, a weekly lunchtime conversation group. Taking an hour each Thursday to simply converse and share in Spanish supplemented my formal instruction by creating a space for students, staff and faculty alike to engage each other in an informal context. We welcomed learners of all levels, prioritizing comprehension and cultural exchange over grammatical precision. We also helped translate children’s books from English into Spanish for the CLUES organization so that bilingual and English language learners, mostly children and parents in the community, could take home books and better understand both languages.
Since graduation, I’ve been working at the University of St. Thomas in an academic technology role that blends my technical skills and interest in educational pedagogy. My experiences as a student and Spanish minor, including classroom time, community involvement, and conversations with professors, has equipped me with a unique perspective for the role: not just the seeking comprehension, but a deeper understanding of others’ backgrounds and cultures. I’ve always been open to opportunities to practice and maintain my proficiency, and my life after Augsburg will be no different. To those who are new to our school, ¡Bienvenidos!
(Last update: December 2015)