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Matt Munoz


Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Majors: Spanish, English with a Writing Emphasis
Concentration: Media Studies
Study Abroad: Cáceres, Spain
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Best Adjective to Describe You: Committed

In 10 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
Broaden your horizons and become a citizen of the world!

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
I was originally drawn to the Spanish department because of my desire to further my understanding of the language. I took Spanish throughout high school, but I never pictured myself continuing these studies in college, let alone majoring in it! I enrolled in Spanish 203 on a whim and it changed my course of studies completely. The lower-level classes truly immerse you in the language and the labs allow you to have conversation outside of class with visiting international students. The upper-level classes cover a wide-array of topics dealing with Spain, Latin America, the United States, and Spanish-speaking countries world-wide. In my experience, the professors have been committed to making my experience in the department fit with my interests as much as possible; that means having my credits from study abroad validated, an independent study about contemporary Spanish film, and support for a grant to do research for my SIP abroad. My experience as a Spanish major has been excellent and I strongly encourage everyone to take a class in the department and see for yourself!

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
If possible, I highly recommend studying abroad in a Spanish-speaking country and really trying to immerse yourself in the language and culture. In addition to having an awesome experience, your language skills will improve by leaps and bounds.

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
My classes in the Spanish major have often intersected with my English major and Media Studies concentration. I have taken a class on Spanish film, worked as an intern at a Spanish-language newspaper on study abroad, and read texts that inspired the idea for my interdisciplinary SIP. You will be amazed to find out how much the courses in the Spanish department relate to and reinforce your other studies!

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
The most important thing I have learned at K so far is the importance of getting involved outside the classroom. You will have some of your best experiences making friends in student organizations (or even starting your own) and you can get support from the school to do something that truly interests you. While living on campus, it can be hard to draw the line between work and personal time. Take a little time each day to take a break and you won't be sorry. Once you find your balance you will find that you are happier and you can get just as much done without overexerting yourself.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
My favorite class during my time at K was one of the classes I was able to take while studying abroad in Cáceres. The class was called Imágenes and it focused on the contemporary history of Spain through popular culture. It was awesome to have a class that allowed us to view videos and films and apply them to the society in which we were being immersed. All of my professors here at K and on study abroad have been fantastic!

What is your SIP?
My SIP was born out of one of the sections of the Imágenes class in which we studied the emigration of many Spaniards from Extremadura (the region where Cáceres is located) to other countries in Europe looking for work during the Franco Dictatorship. While staying with a friend in her town on study abroad, her grandma told me all about her experience as an emigrant in Paris and I was fascinated. For my SIP, I returned to Spain to interview former emigrants and catalog their experiences abroad. Additionally, I interviewed young people who are currently leaving the country and looking for work in the midst of economic crisis. My goal is to put a human face to these economic phenomena and to tell a story about migration that is little-known in the United States. I was able to fund this project through a Beeler Grant from the CIP, which is a testament to all of the great opportunities offered at K. The possibilities are endless!

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
While I am still undecided about my next steps after K, I hope to get into the field of bilingual media. I think the linguistic diversity that we have here in the United States is a huge asset. More specifically, Spanish is on the rise with the emergence of the Latino population. I would love to work at a Spanish newspaper, radio station, or television channel (or maybe even create something of my own). While I am not exactly sure what the future holds right now, I am excited for the ride!

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