An update from Tiffany Bernardini, Spanish major at Illinois State.

Being a language student at Illinois State University has been an amazing opportunity! I have always had a passion for the Spanish language and culture and knew that I wanted to study it at college. Although I have not always been sure that Spanish would be my major, I feel that I made the right decision because I am studying a subject that I love. While being a language student at Illinois State, I have not only been able to work, but I have also been able to raise my son, Elliott, while furthering my education.

As a single mother, the road to acquiring a college education has not always been an easy one. There are days when I would like to melt under the stress of being a student and mother, but my son motivates me to pursue my passion in order to create a better life for us both. I aspire to set a good example for my son through my education at Illinois State and to open his eyes to other cultures. Most of all I hope to teach him Spanish so he can use it in his future to be able to communicate with a broader group of people.

Along with the motivation of my son, I want to thank my professors for always being supportive and for giving me the reassurance I needed to continue striving to reach my full potential. I came to Illinois State not knowing what my goals would be for after graduation, but now I would like to pursue graduate school in order to teach Spanish at the college level, preferably in linguistics. I had never considered a career in the academic world before studying at Illinois State. A year ago, Professor Patxi Lascurain Ibarlucea really inspired me when he pulled me aside after a syntax class and inquired if I had ever considered graduate school. His words changed my outlook on my future, and I hope that one day I can make a difference in a student’s life as he did in mine.

Not only do I now have the goal of attending graduate school but I can cross studying abroad off of my bucket list next spring because I will study abroad for the first time in Panamá during Spring Break 2018. I find this to be a great program because it gives students the opportunity to have an incredible adventure even though they are unable to study abroad for the entire semester!

I look forward to using my study abroad experience to strengthen my knowledge of the Spanish language and culture. When I first attended Illinois State I had no idea what my future would hold and now I have a beautiful son, a variety of experiences, and new goals to keep me aspiring to be better. I advise everyone to pursue what you love no matter how long or difficult the road may seem because you simply can do it if you put your heart and soul into it!