Michael R. Farkas
B.A. in Spanish, ’11
I’m coming up on finals in my first semester of grad school here at the University of South Florida and so far my experience has been incredible! It’s definitely a whole new world and took me a while to get my bearings. Despite the fact that I miss the tight-knit feel of our L&L Department, my professors are wonderful and the College of Public Health is still small enough to be a supportive and collaborative environment. I’ve been able to be a part of a lot of wonderful volunteer initiatives; my favorite of which was the Farm Workers Self-Help Health Fair. With the benefit of my language background I was able to work with the med students to communicate the results, implications, and advisable treatments and behaviors for each of the adults that came through the fair. It was an incredibly rewarding activity and I am so grateful to have had the language skills to be able to participate at the level that I did. To my knowledge, I am the only MPH student that came from a language background and am so proud to help demonstrate that language learning can be a foundation for a multitude of disciplines. I was just approved to add the Global Health and Latin American and Caribbean Studies certificate to my Global Health Practice program. Additionally, I have met with several professors in the Anthropology Department to discuss the possibility of the MPH/MA dual degree in Public Health and Applied Anthropology. Each of them has acknowledged my degree in Spanish as an excellent and intuitive springboard for their program. I will decide by the end of this week if this is the path I want to pursue. Also, I really need to thank Prof. Cintron and the Nicaragua Club – that trip was such a wonderful experience which has already served me very well in my current program – it really encapsulates a lot of what Public Health is all about. I’m working with my student organization to either establish a connection with Compas de Nicaragua or with another partnership we’ve identified near Managua. Either way, that experience has been instrumental in a lot of what I’m doing and will do through my program – so, thank you!
Minor in German, ’11
After graduating, I was hired to work as an Assistance Coordinator at a company called On Call International located in Salem, NH. This is a 24/7 emergency medical and travel assistance company. I have the opportunity to use my German Language skills on a daily basis as I work four 10 hour shifts and have to make calls world wide. We work on saving peoples lives 10 hours at a time. I have now been promoted to an Aetna Specialist and specify working directly with people who have Aetna International insurance. I arrange air ambulances, nurse escorts, hospital admissions, and anything imaginable to evacuate people from remote areas all throughout the world. Some areas I have been found difficult but a learning experience to evacuate people from are the top of Mount Everest in Nepal, The Marshall Islands, The Maldives, Antarctica, and many other locations world wide. I use my language skills mainly in the summer months, however periodically year round. I call hospitals located in German speaking countries to speak with patients, do medical consults, and chase medical reports. Many people at my company are bilingual. On Call International is made up of under 100 employees with about 40 languages spoken.
B.A. in Spanish and TESOL Certificate Option, ’12
Since graduating in May 2012, I have started a Master’s program in Hispanic Studies at Boston College. I also work as a Teaching Fellow for the Romance Language Department at the undergraduate level. The L&L Department at PSU is wonderful, largely in part due to the professors who offer experience from a variety of backgrounds and interests. The small class sizes provide ample opportunity to work one-on-one with each professor, thus building strong professional connections within your field that will last for years to come.
B.A. in French, ’13
I really liked that sometimes there were different events, such as the French Film Festival. This helped me become more into the classes I took, and encouraged me to follow the course. The classes were diverse, but each one in the program related to one another. For example, a course focusing on the cultures of France is related to another that looks at the history of France. The teachers are the best that I have ever had.
B.A. in Spanish, ’13
Since graduation, I have been hired as a Spanish teacher at the Tilton School in New Hampshire. I will begin professional development this summer by traveling to South America to improve my teaching and Spanish skills. The Department of Languages and Linguistics was not only composed of incredible educators, but they become your family. With each having a unique Spanish language and cultural background, they provide the students with ample opportunities to gauge perspective, hear different accents, and become well-rounded cultural individuals. Learning a foreign language not only broadens a person’s ability to communicate, but gives perspective into other worlds, and opens the doors of employment for many different fields.