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Meet a Real Linguist

Name: Larry Turner

Education: Southern Adventist University, Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism and international studies with a French emphasis.

Location: Saleve Adventist University, Collonges-sous-Saleve, France

The Job: Larry works as one of the deans for the men’s dorm. He also serves as the campus sports director. His responsibilities at the school are the same as they would be on a campus in the United States with just one difference: he has to speak French and understand the culture.

During his senior year at Southern he met some people who were doing publicity for Saleve Adventist University. Larry had already spent a year there for his major and shared his positive experiences with them. They were so impressed that they offered him a one-year job.

It’s a career move that Larry had never anticipated. But it would have never come his way if he hadn’t studied French.

Nowadays Larry organizes the evening gym activities and serves as a liaison between the American and French students in the dorm. As an extra bonus, he takes classes to brush up on his language skills and keep in touch with students.

Words to Live by "This year has been just one learning experience after another. I’d call it more of a missionary experience—a lesson in humility."

Language for you?

Consider Language as a college major if you're crazy about:
• Enjoy traveling (you can see the world)
• Adjust well to other cultures (your way isn’t the only way)
• Find puzzles intriguing (Translating is a puzzle)

Avoid Language as a college major if you get nauseated by:
• Hate subtitled movies (it may be an indicator of low tolerance for foreign languages)
• Get homesick (when you’re in Argentina, home leaves aren’t easy to come by)
• Refuse to try new food (you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Taco Bell in Europe)



What if I told you there’s a major that requires you to live in France foran entire year? Perhaps you prefer Spain, Germany, or Italy? Or—if you’d rathersample the Southern Hemisphere—what about Argentina?

Well, for those of you who enjoy globe-trotting, start packing your bags.There are a couple majors that make a year abroad part of your collegeeducation.

One option is to study a specific language. The most frequently offeredprograms at Adventist colleges are Bachelor of Arts degrees in Spanish and French.Another option is to study international communications or studies. For thisdegree you have to choose a specific language to master, but you also learnabout the country’s history and culture.

The most obvious career options for graduates of a modern language programare teaching or translating. Translators can work for an international businesscorporation, the government, or the United Nations.

But if you aren’t too keen on a career in translation, consider a degree ina second language as your special weapon in the workforce. Bilingual people area precious commodity for any company. So this major is an excellent partner toany degree.

And did I mention that this major requires you to study abroad withoutlosing a year of college?

For Edilson Garcia, a senior at Southern Adventist University, the majorcame to him by accident. He’d already earned his two-year degree in nursingwhen he decided to go to school in France for a year.

When he returned to the U.S. he learned that if he took just a few moreclasses, he could earn an additional degree in international studies. Then hepicked up another major in computer systems administration!

Here’s how he came to discover the thrill of learning French, along with apeek at his year abroad.

On Course: Did you speak French before you went to France?

Edilson: I took a semester of French in high school.

OC: Since you’re trilingual and Spanish is your first language, why didn’tyou major in Spanish?

Edilson: I wanted to expand my background, and I liked the language. My highschool French teacher always used to talk about her experience abroad, and shesparked my interest. I also knew that French is widely spoken all over theworld—in Africa, Europe, and some parts of South America.

OC: You spent a year at Saleve Adventist University, the Adventist collegein France, right?

Edilson: Yes. It was amazing—a lot of fun! I got to learn the language inits original setting. Learning a language in a classroom can be boring. But inFrance I used what I learned immediately. Basically you learn French, you eatFrench, and you breathe French.

OC: Didn’t you also learn about the culture?

Edilson: Yes. I had to take classes in nineteenth-century European history,ancient classics, contemporary art, intercultural communications, Frenchliterature, and French fine arts and monuments.

In addition, the college took us on many tours, which is part of theAdventist Colleges Abroad (ACA) program. But we also traveled on our own duringthe breaks. I went to Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Spain. We traveled on studentbudgets, so we slept on trains and ate cheese and bread every day. But that wasOK!

OC: Did you get homesick?

Edilson: Yes. Studying abroad is fun, but it’s not all roses. First you getthere, and you’re happy because it’s a different place. France has a gorgeouscampus. It’s up on a mountain, and you can rock-climb or bike.

But then you get frustrated, because you’re not learning the language asfast as you thought you would or should. You can’t understand what people say,and they can’t understand you, which is worse!

Then winter comes, and that’s when people get really sad and homesick.You’ve been there a few months, and you feel you’re not learning anything.

OC: What was the hardest part about studying a new language?

Edilson: The beginning—when you can’t even make a sentence. You’re justlearning verbs, a word here and there, and it’s really boring. Reading andwriting in French is time-consuming at first because you have to keep lookingup the words you don’t know.

OC: Will you be fluent by the time you graduate?

Edilson: No, because I don’t get to practice speaking French as much in theStates. I can have a conversation in French, but if I were to try to translatefor someone who’s talking really fast, I don’t think I’d fully be able to. Tobe fluent, I’ll probably have to go back to France for a couple months to catchup.

OC: What do you plan to do when you graduate?

Edilson: I’ll probably use my other degree and get a job in computers. Theproblem with international studies is that you can’t get a job easily. It’scompetitive.

But I don’t regret learning another language. You never know when you canuse it. I went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic a couple years ago.I helped translate, and I really liked it.

OC: Is this a good major for a Christian?

Edilson: Yes, our church is a worldwide church. So there’s a need for peoplewho can work well with other cultures.

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