Chris Dinon, sophomore Spanish major, has received a $2,500 grant to study abroad for 6 months starting in June 2015 through TCNJ’s exhange program with Universidad de San Andrés in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The grant came from Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, of which Chris is a member.
“I think it’s certainly an interesting time politically,” Chris said about the current state of affairs in his study abroad destination. “I’m also interested to see how [Argentinians] interact with Americans.”
Also a student of the French language, Chris justifies his choice to travel to Argentina as his unique chance to experience Latin America. He attributes this interest in the region to a Latin American literature course he recently took with Doctora Adriana Rosman-Askot (World Languages and Cultures).
“That was my first course that focused solely on Latin America,” Chris explained. “I just discovered that was an area I was more interested in. I have had so many chances to take courses on Peninsular (i.e. Spanish) literature and not so much Latin America.”
His curiosity about languages, however, started for him when he met a Spanish-speaking family in high school who needed his help translating.
“It was then that I realized what a gift language is,” Chris said. “There are so many people out there who don’t speak English but still have incredible stories to share. And without these languages, we could never truly get to know them.”
Despite his knowledge and passion, Chris says he feels anxious for what is to come, just like any other student might feel as they prepare to travel across the world for the first time.
“I’m a little nervous about learning the slang and the local language because it’s so different from country to country,” Chris said. Despite the typical jitters, he explained that he feels prepared because he practices Spanish with people across the globe through internet exchange programs.
Chris hopes that this immersion program in Buenos Aires will help him create a career in language education.
“I certainly am excited to speak Spanish all the time,” he said, elated for the experience that awaits him across the equator.
TCNJ’s chapter of Sigma Delta Pi is directed by Doctora Tulia Jimenez-Vergara.
—Story and Interview by Jack Meyers
—Photography by Jaryd Frankel