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Foreign Languages

Success Stories

Language  majors from Birmingham-Southern go on to lead successful careers in any number of professions. For some, mastery of Spanish is a critical component to their careers. For others, language proficiency adds value to their skills, opening new avenues and new possibilities. Our recent graduates have become:

  • Dentists, doctors and health care professionals
  • Medical translators and interpreters
  • Attorneys with Spanish-language skills
  • University professors
  • Interpreters for business
  • High school language teachers
  • Lawyers
  • Peace Corps volunteers
  • Teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • International sales and marketing professionals

For an even longer list of options for language majors, click here.

“I worked at the William J. Clinton Foundation as an intern in the Scheduling Department. Because I could read, write, and speak Spanish, I was frequently chosen to participate and translate calls with Spanish-speaking diplomats and visitors. I was able to use the skills I had gained from the BSC Spanish major to impress my supervisor and to have the opportunity to speak with important Latin American figures.”
--Jennifer Comander  ’12 / Spanish
Washington & Lee Law School

Alumni stories:

Melissa Cantley ’05, double major in Spanish and Religion
I never imagined that majoring in Spanish at Birmingham-Southern would open up so many doors for me. My first years of college were spent in the classroom studying Spanish and learning about the culture and history of Latin America. I didn´t know it at the time, but this proved to be a necessary and excellent preparation for the many adventures that lay ahead. During my last two years of college, my classroom moved outside the gates of BSC. I had the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in the Dominican Republic, pursued an independent interim project in Bolivia, and began to work with the wonderfully diverse Hispanic community of Birmingham. After graduating in 2005, I worked for a year as a bilingual aide in a local middle school. There I had the opportunity to teach English to immigrant children and served as translator and interpreter. Currently I am in Quito, Ecuador with a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship studying Linguistics, teaching English, and of course practicing and perfecting my Spanish. I do not know where my path will lead me next, but my hope is that wherever I go I might serve as a bridge between languages and cultures. I am so thankful for the Spanish Department at BSC for introducing me to a whole new world and for giving me the skills that I needed to be a part of it

Aarti Madan ’04, double major in Spanish and English
I can certainly testify to the strength of the humanities at Birmingham-Southern. Initially, I hesitated to pursue two majors in fear of being simply mediocre in both. However, I blended the majors to create a personalized course of study that defined my interests and career goals and still continues to do so. Within a mere four years at ’Southern, I interned for an environmental organization as a translator; volunteered with Hispanic clientele at various Birmingham area clinics; traveled to Nogales, Mexico to study border policy and Chicana literature, spent a month in Buenos Aires researching the Argentine Jews and their emigration to Israel; and, finally, acquired teaching experience at the Arlington School as an instructor of both Spanish and English. The density of my experience as an undergraduate proved to be the catalyst for graduate school: I am currently pursuing my M.A. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh, where I am also employed as a Teaching Assistant of Spanish. I can state with confidence that my formation at BSC has undoubtedly placed me in the upper echelon of graduate programs in the United States, and I give the Spanish department my highest recommendations; perhaps one day I will be able to emulate my former professors at a liberal arts college of the same caliber as Birmingham-Southern.

Kelli Loggins ’98, double major in Spanish and English
Looking back on my experience at Birmingham-Southern, I find that my participation in the Spanish program not only enriched my academic and personal development, but also expanded my career opportunities. As a student of Spanish, I saw an improvement in my writing and analytical skills and I gained much confidence in my oral communication skills. Most importantly, my study of Spanish has helped me to become a more open-minded and well-rounded person by giving me the opportunity to understand and experience cultures that differ from my own. Currently, I am working at a processing plant in Trussville, AL as a translator and trainer for a growing number of Spanish speaking employees. Since joining the work force, I have been extremely satisfied with the knowledge and skills with which my study of Spanish at 'Southern has provided me.

Heather Wood ’96, double major in Spanish and international business
I am currently employed as a Spanish teacher at the Altamont School, a private school in Birmingham. When I think about the role that Spanish has played in my personal and professional life, it is truly overwhelming. I always enjoyed my Spanish classes in high school but never knew exactly what kind of opportunities I would have with a language degree. I spent my freshman year at the University of Alabama, and by the end of the year, I had decided not to pursue a language degree at all. By the end of the year, I decided that a large university was not for me, and I transferred to Birmingham-Southern. The smaller classes and personal relationships at BSC made me realize that I could enjoy language classes again, and I changed my major to Spanish. My first year at BSC, I took advantage of the Interim Study Abroad program and spent one month in Costa Rica. During that time, I learned more about the Hispanic culture and the Spanish language itself that I could ever have imagined. As a senior, I once again traveled abroad, this time to Guatemala. It was on this trip that I realized I wanted to pursue a career in which I would use my Spanish on a daily basis. It is an incredible asset to have the ability to communicate with someone from another language and culture, and I wanted to use my skills to teach and help others. These skills have taken me to many places that I would have otherwise never had the opportunity to visit. After graduation, I entered The University of Alabama Graduate School's Master's Degree program in Applied Linguistics. When I came to the Altamont School, faculty and administrators there told me that my credentials and background from Birmingham-Southern played a key role in hiring me. My language and international business backgrounds have also allowed me to travel to the Dominican Republic as an interpreter and to work as a translator for companies that do business in Latin America.