Amanda Romjue’s interest in Spanish started in elementary school when she realized one of her classmates, who was from a local community of migrant workers, spoke only Spanish.
Romjue said it was hard for her to see her classmate struggle to play with other children because he didn’t speak English and none of the other students spoke Spanish. She didn’t understand why nothing was being done to bridge the language barrier.
Then, in high school her Spanish teacher encouraged her to realize her dream of teaching by becoming a Spanish teacher.
Romjue attended Appalachian State University and received her bachelor’s degree in Spanish in May 2007, then received her Master of Arts in Romance Languages with a concentration in teaching Spanish in December 2008.
Now, Romjue is pursuing a Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She anticipates completing her degree by May 2016.
While she completes her doctoral work, she has returned to Appalachian to work as language lab director for the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.
Romjue said that beyond what they taught her in the classroom, her Appalachian professors taught her how to network and build professional relationships.
Romjue said she still sees that in the department when professors encourage students to attend conferences, mentor students or engage students through research.
“I would encourage students to go on the department website and look at what our professors study and reach out to or take a class with any professor they have a common interest with,” Romjue said. “We have a very diverse group, so there is something for everyone.”
However, Romjue said that studying Spanish goes beyond learning the language. Its importance lies in understanding and empathizing with different cultures – something that harkens back to her time in elementary school.
Studying Spanish goes beyond learning the language, according to Amanda Romjue ’07. Its importance lies in understanding and empathizing with different cultures.