Spanish Department Sees Growth
by Destiny Blake
In the first year that Grace College offered a Spanish major (1955), only one person that it; no one braved the minor. Recently, those numbers have skyrocketed.
Assistant Professor Benjamin Navarro, currently the only Spanish teacher, came to Grace with the Spanish program already in place. Navarro has been teaching at Grace since 1996, after teaching for seven years in Argentina, where he was born and raised. Many of his students can recall his story about how, when he first started teaching at Grace, he barely knew English, making it very difficult. Thus, he truly understands the challenges that stepping out into another culture without much knowledge presents.
The Spanish program is progressively growing. This year, 23 students are majoring in Spanish and Spanish Education, and a shocking 55 are minoring in Spanish.
Navarro said, “In the last couple of years, we have seen more interest in Spanish majors, which could be because students in general are realizing that the Spanish language is all around them.”
Also, many academic advisors are, according to Navarro, “seeing the importance of including languages in their fields.” (The U.S. Hispanic population grew by three million from 2010 to 2012.)
Navarro believes that the increase in students majoring in Spanish is nothing but good for the school and our generation as a whole. Although he is currently maxed out with the number of classes he has and the number of students he can have in those classes, he remains positive.
His final thoughts: “Studying a language will teach you not only the new language, but you will also get to know your language better. It will open your eyes to the state of our country. Come with a humble heart. The rewards are great.”