¡Felicidades a Evelyn Montoya de Luther College, nuestro Heritage Student Spotlight para el mes de mayo! En sus propias palabras:
I was born in Guerrero, México, and my family made the decision to took for better opportunities in the United States 20 years ago. Currently, we live in Chicago, IL and we have enjoyed our time in the windy city! I’m a first generation senior at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and I’m double majoring in Anthropology and Spanish. Spanish is my first language and I attended a bilingual elementary school, so I did not learn English until the second grade. I struggled in school, and I was constantly frustrated because I could not practice English outside of school, besides watching cartoons. My parents saw that I was struggling and decided to get me an English tutor. As time went on, I started to get more comfortable with English, and I felt comfortable around my classmates. Growing up in a Spanish-speaking household, I was able to learn about my culture. Listening to Mexican music and watching novelas, brought my closer to my culture. But I grew up with cousins who were forced to not speak Spanish because their parents wanted them to fit in. Even though the U.S. does not have an official language, many are afraid to speak their first language. So my advice to for another Spanish heritage student is that they should continue to use Spanish and never let anyone tell you that you don’t belong.
At Luther, one of my goals has been to create safe spaces for Spanish heritage students. I was president of Latines Unides, our Latinx student organization, for two years. During my time as president, we organized events, panels, and lectures where students had the space to feel welcomed, share their experiences and for other students to learn from them. Last year, I worked with my Spanish professor, Professor Thompson, to find ways to introduce Latinx voices for Paideia, which is a required class that all first years must take. During this time, I learned the importance of having diverse voices in class and the impact it can have on students. They will feel safe to share their experiences, especially in a predominately white institution.
I enjoy using Spanish with my friends and family because it is a way we bond and get closer. I also enjoy learning about my culture because I am able to appreciate every aspect of it. By majoring in Spanish, I have enhanced my speaking skills, and I am able to translate for others when needed. Helping others is one thing that I love to do and allows me to connect with others on a personal level. While, I don’t know what I want to do in the future, for now I will continue to help others and create safe spaces for Spanish heritage students.
Si usted es instructor/a de español como lengua de herencia, y quiere nominar a un estudiante, favor de entregar una solicitud aquí.