Josh Gaither is biology-education major, but minoring in Spanish at SIU has been a big part of his college experience.
“When people ask me what the best thing is about SIU, I tell them something they don’t expect to hear. SIU’s greatest assets are its international students, and the chance to share different cultures and get a global perspective on things.”
Josh didn’t really like his high school language classes, but it all changed at college. “Two things made the difference at college. I realized that learning Spanish would unlock doors for me, both teaching and otherwise. And I made friends with foreign students who had learned English—which inspired me to study a foreign language myself.”
Plus there were the “fantastic teachers” and “incredible faculty” at SIU, who did a great job of integrating culture with language study. Josh plans to teach in an urban environment himself, where he expects to meet students from many different perspectives, and his education in Spanish, and experience with students from around the world, will help him connect with his own students.
“I just wrote a paper in Spanish on why it’s so important to have a multicultural perspective,” Josh notes. “These aren’t classes to do the bare minimum in,” he says. “I watch Spanish movies and listen to Spanish music, and it’s all paying off.”
You don't have to major in a foreign language—though we welcome it!—to get a lot out of language study here.