Majors and year of graduation: Secondary Spanish Education, Secondary History Education; 2007
Professional Certification: TEFL
Hometown: Waldo, WI
Current city: Ciudtadella de Menorca, Spain
Life in Spain
Ashley currently lives with her husband in Menorca, Spain, where she conducts homework support classes for a private academy and works as a freelance English teacher. Previously, Ashley was employed for three years as a language assistant through the Spanish government's Cultural Ambassadors program. You can learn more about Ashley's experience in the Cultural Ambassadors program here. Read on below to learn about Ashley's journey from NMU undergraduate to teacher in Spain.
A look back at NMU...
Language studied at NMU: Spanish
Why did you choose to study those languages?
At my high school the only options were Spanish and German, at the time I thought that Spanish was the better option for me.
When did you begin your language education?
In middle school, with an 8-week course.
Have you studied another language since graduating from NMU?
I am currently studying Catalan, which is the primary language in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.
Did you have a favorite language class at NMU?
My best language class was how to teach language with Dr. Compton. It was great being immersed in the different languages of the students in the class.
A funny memory from one of your NMU language classes...
I remember when Professor Orf told us about the things that she likes: tuna and chocolate, separate, not together!
While still an NMU student, where did you find opportunities to speak the language you were learning outside of the classroom?
I did a little bit of work in Sandy Knoll elementary school teaching some vocabulary to the students there. I was also able to keep in touch with people I met while studying abroad in Salamanca.
How did the experience in Salamanca enhance your studies? Did it influence your future plans?
I chose to study abroad in Salamanca because I had been there in high school - and for its prestigious University. It is also one of the places where Spanish is spoken in a very pure form - according to Salmantinos, the most perfect Spanish in the world. I was able to meet most of my language requirements by studying aboard for an academic year. Studying abroad literally changed my life, as I met my future husband while he was studying Biology in Salamanca. It made me become an English teacher rather than a Spanish teacher!
Did you get married in Spain? If so, what was that experience like?
We did! When we decided to get married in 2011, we paid all the fees and went through all the famous Spanish government red tape only to arrive at the town hall in Santiago de Compostela to find out we had been forgotten about! It was during Carnaval, a holiday where people get dressed up in costumes and go out, so they assumed that we were there celebrating the holiday. In the end we got married an hour later than scheduled and made it into the newspaper, which you can read here (in Spanish): http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/santiago/2011/03/06/0003_201103S6C5992.htm
Your favorite foreign language word or phrase (and what it means):
My favorite Spanish verb is “zarpar”, which means to set sail. In English we have so many phrasal verbs, but in Spanish even the most specific action has its own verb entirely.