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Ellie Augustine, University of Kansas

22 March 2020

I have enjoyed both my Spanish classes and my political philosophy classes for some time now. The problem is, I had never known how to put them together. In college, I had compartmentalized my life into neat little sections, knowing that each subject was valuable in itself, but with no practical idea of how they would someday fit together.

My conversation with Nallely changed that.

I logged onto my third TalkAbroad appointment for my Spanish speaking class, and the topic was “cómo se expresan desacuerdos” — how to express disagreements. As we were talking, we began to explore the differences that people have on a political level – the disagreements that occur in civil society and how they are resolved. I never thought the conversation would turn toward law and justice, but soon enough we were talking about a wide variety of issues, such as social justice, political philosophy, polarization, and community life. The thirty minutes flew by. If I didn’t know a word or how to express my thoughts in a certain way, Nallely would message me the word I was looking for and I would add it to my vocabulary. Suddenly I had a whole repertoire of new words to describe the things I was most passionate about in a language that I loved.

I never knew everything would connect so perfectly.

That conversation was the catalyst for deeper reflection on where I’m going in the future, and how I can make positive change in the world. Since then, I have been thinking more and more about going to law school for a J.D. in international and global law. I had been thinking about law for quite some time, but I didn’t consider pairing it with Spanish until I had a practical experience of how language and law are inextricable from one another. The way we use language is the way we interact in society. If politics concerns the way humans function together, then language is the means to that functionality.

Who knew that a 30-minute conversation in Spanish could be so life-changing?

As I finish out my senior year of college, I’m doing so with an eye toward the future. I have been researching countless programs that will allow me to combine my interests, and I have checked out book upon book over topics of justice, language and even business.

The interactions we have with others create experiences that multiply themselves over and over again. I am now planning on going to Mexico in the fall to improve my language skills before finally taking the plunge into the law school life. I am excited to see how much more robust and well-rounded life will continue to be, even after a conversation with just one person.