Recent Graduates and their Stories

We asked some recent graduates to share their experiences about their French and Italian language classes and their thoughts of learning a foreign language. They had some great and surprising stories. We are so pleased to have been part of your Ohio State journey and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!

Joe Spararo, Finance Major, OSU Class of 2018

“As a graduating senior there is an overwhelming emphasis to continue to look forward towards the future. However, I cannot help to look back and reflect on my time at The Ohio State University (I’m positive that every graduating senior does) and I’m pleased to say I have no regrets except for one. I wish I would have continued on in my studies of the Italian language. Most of us are forced to take a foreign language as a general education requirement and we see it as only an obstacle in the way of getting a degree in something else yet I fell in love with Italian. When I was in my Italian classes it felt like I wasn’t learning this beautiful language for the degree, I wasn’t immersing myself in a different culture for the purposes of making money, and I didn’t sit there because I knew it was required of me. No, in fact, I did it for myself. I was engaged and enthralled by the idea that I can communicate with a whole other body of people that live on this planet. My Italian professors encouraged me to participate and I learned because I was genuinely interest.

I thought of making Italian my minor even before I knew of all the amazing opportunities the French and Italian department offer in the realm of studying abroad. But of course I got caught up with my major, economics, which-while I am very proud of- I realized I was majoring in this because I knew I could make good money off of it. I wasn’t doing it FOR ME. So my advice to you, mr./ms. Undergraduate, is while you are here at this wonderful university, do something for yourself. Go take that French culture class you’ve been wanting to take, enroll in the Italian cinema class you you’ve been thinking about. Get an Italian minor and pursue you’re love for the language and take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that the department offers you. Become more well rounded and worldly. I know if I had to do it all again that’s what I would do.”

Ashley Builesm, Speech and Hearing Science and Italian, OSU class of 2018

"In my profession as a Speech Therapist, employers are looking for people who understand different cultures. Being fluent or at least knowing other languages has opened many doors for me in the job market. They want to see people who are culturally competent so future clients are comfortable with someone who accepts their culture and their language differences. People in general appreciate the fact that I try to break the language barrier by learning their language and their customs. It helps create a sense of trust or at least helps others be more comfortable in a hospital environment, where it tends to be a highly emotional setting."

Victoria Sevich, Romance Studies and Linguistics, OSU class of 2018

"When you learn a new language, you not only gain the immediately obvious benefits of being able to communicate with new people and immersing yourself in new cultures, but it also changes the way you think. Learning a second language isn't like taking a course in psychology or calculus - in addition to learning a set of new facts and new information, you are learning an entirely new way of thinking. You are leaning a new way to encode your own thoughts, and also a new way to process and understand those of others. You are forced to think analytically about what you see, read, and hear in order to create and verbalize thoughts and to understand those of others. You begin to think about your native language or languages in an entirely different way. Whether or not you realize it, you take these skills with you wherever you go - to other classes, to personal and professional relationships, and to the world beyond graduation. Learning new languages has opened my world to not only new people and new cultures, but also to a new way of thinking and processing new thoughts. I am a more analytic consumer of new information and a more critical thinker. I am grateful to my professors and my university for providing me with so many opportunities to grow in my knowledge and confidence and am excited to use my skills in the world after graduation."