What Learning Spanish Through the Honors Enrichment Award Equipped and Provided Me With

        My name is Marina Topa and I am a Sophomore nursing student. I was one of the students who received an Enrichment Award last Spring. The Enrichment Award provides the opportunity for Honors students to either conduct research or study a foreign language of their choice. Students propose what they want to use the award to do during the summer and go through an application process near the end of Freshman year. The Honors staff is very helpful in guiding you with the application and finding the best plan for your research or studies.

        I used my award to learn Spanish this summer. I purchased Rosetta Stone and some books to practice Spanish. I practiced as much as my schedule would allow and was able to really strengthen my language skills. I wanted to learn more Spanish because I already learned some in high school and wanted to learn more in preparation for a mission trip to Peru I went on this summer. I traveled to Chimbote, Peru and volunteered at a maternity hospital.

        I was able to talk to people in Peru in their own language which really made a difference in communication. This was important since we were either in a hospital setting or peoples’ homes most of the time. People appreciated that I took the time and effort to learn some of their language instead of relying on the translator. The skills I learned really helped me connect with individuals on my trip and I formed many friendships. I can message my Peruvian friends in decent Spanish now and they help me improve my conversational skills.

    The Enrichment Award is a great way to do something that will build your resume for future opportunities. This may mean applying for a fellowship, internship, or job. Personally, my long term goal is to be a bilingual nurse because there is a huge demand for Spanish-speaking healthcare professionals. I strongly encourage you to look into the Enrichment Award and all of the opportunities that it has to offer. It definitely opened the door to many great experiences for me.


— Marina Topa


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