Alredo Alcarez

Thanks to my minor, I now have the full confidence to speak Spanish in public, and to carry on conversations in my favorite foreign language.

My name is Alfredo Alcaraz, and I graduated from UCI this past summer. Obtaining a Spanish minor has been extremely helpful throughout my college experience and beyond. I only wish I had started taking Spanish courses earlier so I could have double majored in Spanish and Criminology, Law and Society (School of Social Ecology)!

My writing skills in Spanish have also been sharpened, along with my Spanish pronunciation.

Having majored in Criminology, Law and Society, I know my Spanish minor will be extremely helpful in my field of study, as well as in my future career — one that values familiarity with multiculturalism.

Chris Chavez


This work experience has helped me realize just how tremendously useful my minor in Spanish has been in my past and current jobs.

My name is Chris Chavez. I graduated from UCI just over a year ago. I have been out in the work force for about a year and a half. This work experience has helped me realized just how tremendously useful my minor in Spanish has been in my past and current jobs. Here is why:

After graduating, I accepted a position at Mesa Court Housing, a freshmen dormitory where not only professional staff members work, but also Operations and Maintenance. I was able to communicate with those Operation and Maintenance staff members who felt more comfortable speaking in their native Spanish. This created a comfort for them to be able to ask questions and better understand the expectations of their daily job duties.

Not only has my Spanish allowed me to expand my work experience, but my ability to speak, write and read in Spanish has broadened my cultural background. I am a first generation college student, where I am constantly balancing between two cultural identities. I have come to realize that we are all from various backgrounds and cultures where we identify ourselves with a mixture of identities.

Having received a minor in Spanish has permitted me to expand my work and cultural experience where I am able to accept and understand those I come in contact with on a daily basis. I hope to continue my education and attend LawSchool where I will use the skills I have acquired.

Wesely Chin

In this day and age, being multilingual is not just recommended in the medical field; it is a necessity.

As a Biological Sciences major, I focus mostly on the hard sciences, working with complex formulas and reactions, chemistry, and physics. At first sight, it would seem that classes in Advanced Spanish Composition or Textual Analysis and Interpretation fit into that core curriculum. But I would respectfully disagree, and I evidence to prove it: pursuing a minor in Spanish has been an invaluable and enlightening experience in my short career. At the same time, pursuing advanced undergraduate Spanish courses has been one of the most enjoyable parts of my college education.

While I love biology with a passion, I eagerly welcomed the more personal classroom setting of Spanish classes. The round table discussions we had in Advanced Conversation (Spanish 15) really highlight the down-to-earth and friendly environment that Spanish professors and students help to create at UCI.

My knowledge of Spanish has also helped me in biology-related activities. As Clinic Coordinator for Flying Samaritans at UCI, I help to run a free medical clinic in El Testerazo, Mexico. Whether it is helping to translate a patient’s medical history for a doctor or teachings kids the proper technique for brushing their teeth, Spanish has been essential in my role as Clinic Coordinator.

If things go as planned, I will soon attend medical school to become a reconstructive plastic surgeon and spend time in South America and Africa to fix cleft palettes. In this day and age, being multilingual is not just recommended in the medical field; it is a necessity. Carlos Fuentes emphasized this importance when he came to speak to us on the UCI campus.

I know I can go far with my Biology degree. But I also know that my courses in Spanish Department that have kindled my love for the Spanish language, and made my college experience unforgettable.

Liliana Corona

Currently, I am pursuing a Multi-Subject Teaching Credential at UCI (Spanish/English)

I obtained a B.A. in Spanish from UCI in Spring 2011. Currently, I am pursuing a Multi-Subject Teaching Credential at UCI (Spanish/English). I am a student teacher in a two-way bilingual program at an elementary school in Orange County. My Spanish skills are undoubtedly a major asset in my current employment.

While a Spanish major at UCI, my knowledge of the Spanish language was enriched by courses on advanced grammar, phonetics, linguistics, literature, and the history of the Spanish language. The wide range of courses offered allowed me to customize my major to my liking. My perspective of the world widened as I learned about earlier and contemporary political conflicts, and the rich diversity of Hispanic cultures in Latin America and Spain. The knowledge thus gained now helps me interact with my students, as they have very varied geographic, social, and linguistic backgrounds. Furthermore, it has also given me the confidence to speak in a professional and informed manner with Master Teachers as well as parents.

The solid academic background I obtained at UCI will continue to be a benefit in my career as a bilingual teacher. I am happy I have chosen this career path, and built it on an academic foundation that I found both rewarding and valuable.

Annie Harrington

The ability to speak Spanish is essential to my position as Intake Coordinator: I'd simply not have obtained the position without it!

My name is Annie Harrington, and I recently graduated from UCI. My Spanish classes have turned out to be extremely useful to my current job at Families Forward, a non-profit organization in Irvine that works with homeless and low-income families in the south OrangeCounty area. As you might imagine, we have a lot of monolingual Spanish-speaking clients. The ability to speak Spanish is essential to my position as Intake Coordinator: I’d simply not have obtained the position without it!

I can't even begin to convey how essential my Spanish is here at the office. I am the only person in the building who speaks any Spanish at all.

Now that I have been working “in the real world” for a couple of years, the usefulness of some of the Spanish courses I took at UCI has come into even greater focus. For instance, the fact that I took “Spanish in The United States” and “Latin American Spanish” taught me to recognize major regional accents. As a result, I can now routinely identify the national origin of visitors to our office, which is something they seem to like (they don’t appreciate being labeled “Mexican” when they are from other parts of the Hispanic world). Also, my clients have repeatedly praised my Spanish pronunciation, honed considerably in “Fonética y Fonología” [SPAN 113A].

At the same time, the UCI courses I took in Hispanic literature and culture have made me more sensitive to the many cultural differences that exist among our clients. This knowledge gives me a considerable advantage: me permite “conectarme” de inmediato con mis clientes. I can thus excel at my profession in ways that I could not have envisioned earlier.

I am hoping to go to graduate school within a couple years, and I am very much looking forward to it.

Intake Program Coordinator
Families Forward

Maribel Herrera

My studies in Spanish at UCI gave me the self-confidence I now possess, and they served as a spring board for a Masters in Teaching Spanish. I am currently a High School teacher of Spanish at Tustin High School.

I am a native speaker of Spanish, born in California of Mexican parents. My studies in Spanish at UCI gave me the self-confidence I now possess, and they served as a spring board for a Masters in Teaching Spanish. I am currently a High School teacher of Spanish at Tustin High School. I still use on a daily basis everything I learned at UCI. I love teaching my native Spanish, and talking about the many cultures that speak it.

Here is how my academic and professional career evolved: Prior to High School, I had never read or written in Spanish. I decided to attend UCI in part because my AP Spanish teacher told me about the academic strengths of the Spanish Department. Taking advanced Spanish classes at UCI greatly improved my writing skills, as well as my (previously shaky) command of standard Spanish.

At UCI, I enrolled in a series of courses that not only taught me how to correctly use accent marks, ser and estar, and por and para. It also expanded my cultural horizon thanks to courses I took in literature from Spain, Latin-America, and the Caribbean. In my senior year, I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain.

The Spanish degree gave me a better sense of who I am, how others label me, and how I, in turn, label myself. Today, I am comfortable calling myself Chicana, Latina, Hispana, Mexican-American and/or American because through my studies at UCI I learned what these terms “really” mean. I embrace them all because they are all me.

Neetu Manjunath

My Spanish B.A. has been very useful in my career (Health Educator & Policy Analyst)

My name is Neetu Manjunath, and I recently graduated from UCI with a B.A. in Spanish. The faculty and students shared a sense of camaraderie that I didn’t see in other departments, and the faculty went out of their way to mentor students. In fact, I’m still in close contact with some of my professors, who have been very supportive of my endeavors through the years.

My Spanish B.A. has been very useful in my career. Here is why: After college, I worked for a few years as a Health Educator & Policy Analyst, and I was hired in part because of my fluency in Spanish. I routinely conduct health education seminars in Spanish, and create bilingual health education materials for the Spanish speaking community. I obtained fluency in Spanish through course work which also taught me something else that is now very useful in my job: sensitivity to the cultural differences within the Hispanic community.

I am now in law school, and know that my Spanish skills will once again be useful in my next career. But most important, perhaps, is this: learning (and then using) Spanish has given me a strong sense of empowerment and personal satisfaction.

Christina Rios

Christina Rios (former UCI Spanish student) is now at Boston University, obtaining a degree in social work.

Unsolicited e-mail from a former Spanish student:

Hola Professor Schwegler!

I was your student in Spanish Phonetics (SPAN 113A) and Spanish in the USA (SPAN 187) a couple of years ago, and just felt the urge to send you a quick message.

I am now studying at Boston University for my graduate degree in social work and have the opportunity to do an internship at a neighborhood service center just outside of downtown. Coming to Boston, I have noticed much less racial and ethnic diversity, especially near the university, but my internship is in a much more diverse neighborhood, with a greater percentage of the population in that area consisting of immigrants and lower income.

My first day the staff was very excited that I was a Spanish-speaker (given the needs ofthe clients), but when they opened their mouths and started speaking I felt a little bit overwhelmed because they spoke so differently from the "standard Spanish" I have grown accustomed to--which immediately made me think of your class. Much of the staff and clients are natives of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and Iimmediately noticed first of all how fast they speak, the changes in the "r" to "l" sounding, the drop and blending of certain sounds and syllables, etc. It's one thing to learn it in the classroom (and have lots of examples), but it's another thing to be immersed in it every week.

It's exciting and another learning experience, and I'm glad that I had insight from your classes that I was able to share with my co-workers and my friends and family back athome.

I have asked the staff to slow-down a little bit for me (while I transition), and they have been very receptive! (Though they laugh a little bit). Just thought I would share... Thank you!!

Kind Regards,

Christina Rios

Aurora Romero

Perfecting my Spanish has helped me further my other university studies and make many friends.

I am a German Studies and Spanish Literature major, with a minor in Jewish Studies. I plan to write creatively and teach language and literature at the university level in the future.

The Spanish language has been an asset to me wherever I have traveled for my studies, from New York to (as unlikely a place as) Germany. Perfecting my Spanish has helped me further my other studies and make many friends.