Here is an update from Mike Marcucci, current double major in Spanish and communication sciences and disorders (speech-language pathology) at Illinois State:

I have always loved understanding other people. I attended diverse schools where Spanish was spoken frequently. In elementary school, I had many friends that spoke Spanish throughout the day and I wanted to understand what they were saying. For a short time, my friends would translate for me, but eventually they told me I would have to learn Spanish if I ever wanted to ask them more questions. I started learning Spanish in fifth grade and have loved it ever since. I truly believe that taking the time to learn another language allows for us to see just how similar we all are. Every language has a way for desires, needs, and beliefs to be talked about. Just because two languages sound different, it doesn’t mean that their content is. I believe strongly in the words of Nelson Mandela: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

One of the reasons I enjoy studying Spanish is that knowing the language allows me to communicate with so many different people. Since my second major is therapy based, I believe having a background in Spanish will be beneficial as I get the chance to help clients who may not speak English.

All in all, my days are pretty busy. I spend most of my day in Stevenson Hall taking language classes. I really enjoy dissecting the language. Some of my favorite classes at Illinois State have been grammar and linguistics because they give me the chance to see how the language works. I spend the other half of my day in Fairchild Hall taking speech therapy classes. When I’m not studying, I’m involved in the Spanish Honors Society, Sigma Delta Pi, as well as working at Thomas Metcalf Lab School where I teach small group lessons on reading and speech development for first grade.

I love the overall energy of the Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Department. Everyone, professors and classmates alike, are very passionate about foreign language and I think it leads to great discussions in the classroom. I also really enjoy the classes I get to take. With every semester, I feel that I have a different perspective of and new appreciation for the Spanish language.

I did study abroad, briefly. My class schedule didn’t allow me to go abroad for a full semester, but I did have the opportunity to go to Spain with the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department. Every year, they do a trip abroad and this past spring they went to Europe. The trip was incredible! It was my second time visiting Spain and we got the chance to travel throughout the country visiting Madrid, Toledo, Granada, Seville, Gibraltar, and Barcelona, my favorite city in Spain. One of the best parts of the trip was walking around Las Ramblas with friends and eating fresh food from La Boqueria. I had visited Barcelona when I was in high school, but it felt like I was seeing the city for the first time all over again. We took a bike tour throughout various parks and along the beach which allowed me see a part of Barcelona I hadn’t seen before. I highly recommend going abroad if anyone is on the fence about it. You won’t regret it!

After graduation, it will be necessary for me to go on to grad school for my speech pathology degree, where I plan on diving even deeper into a bilingual focus. I also have future aspirations of pursuing research on bilingualism and studying its effects on the brain. Ultimately, after spending some time treating patients, I would like to teach about bilingual speech pathology at the collegiate level.