Obies Using Languages: Michael Fontana ’18

Michael is a second year at Oberlin College majoring in Politics.


Describe the journey you’ve taken in learning Spanish. Where did it begin, where did you go and where have you ended up?

My journey learning spanish began last term in 101. My speaking ability and vocabulary improved when I went to El Salvador over winter term. Those three and a half weeks seemed to have a drastically more profound impact than the entire semester I was in 101. Now I am in 202 continuing to learn.

What motivates you to continue learning Spanish when learning gets frustrating or tough?

I am motivated to learn spanish because I feel that it is an important part of my education, both as a practical life skill to communicate with entire new swaths of people, and as something that is directly applicable to my studies as a politics major who is interested in focusing on Latin America.

Tell me about a time when you felt joy or happiness speaking Spanish.

I felt joy and and happiness when I went to El Salvador over winter term and the immersion enabled my spoken Spanish and my vocabulary to grow. I especially felt joy making tentative strides in my abilities to communicate and understand people who are from a different place than I am, and have diverging perspectives from my own that I would benefit tremendously from engaging with.

How do you anticipate speaking, writing, reading or listening to Spanish after Oberlin?

I anticipate that I will be speaking Spanish after Oberlin because I intend to become as fluent as possible to the best of my ability and I want to travel to other Spanish speaking countries.


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