After Jessie Bingaman’s sophomore year of high school, she went on a mission trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Jessie was one of the only people who could speak any Spanish on the trip and her language ability allowed her to get to know the locals in a very personal way. “From then on, I knew I wanted to study as many languages as possible so that I could connect with more and more people,” Jessie said.
Jessie is now double-majoring in Chinese and Spanish and has the opportunity to study two very different languages and cultures. “I love the fact that my majors have given me the ability to travel and meet so many different people from different countries, cultures, and walks of life,” she said. Last summer Jessie travel to China for a month where she taught English. This upcoming summer she will take another J-Term trip to Nicaragua. “The part that excites me most is that I’m constantly learning and will continue to learn for the rest of my life.”
While Jessie is still uncertain about the specific career path she wants to take, she wants to use her knowledge of languages and cultures to connect to people and continue learning. Another one of her goals is to learn as many languages as possible. “Spanish and Chinese are only the beginning.”
“One of my favorite classes this semester is Chinese 2010. It is taught by one of the Target Language Experts from Huairou, which makes for a unique and informative experience. We always have a lot of fun, but we also learn a lot about the Chinese language and culture.”
“My toughest class has been Interpreting Written Spanish Texts. The class consists of reading and interpreting Spanish works of literature and then writing responses to the works. As an upper-level writing intensive course, it is a lot of work, but it is also the class that I’ve found to be the most rewarding. I have learned so much in the class about Spanish authors, texts, cultures, and the language itself. Even though it is tough, I always enjoy reading the texts and writing creative responses to them in Spanish.”
Opportunities at Carthage
“Carthage has provided me with so many opportunities to learn, make connections with professors on campus, and share my knowledge with people outside the Carthage community. Last summer I had the opportunity to take a J-Term trip to teach English in China for a month. This summer I will be going on another J-Term trip to Nicaragua. Also, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work very closely with professors on campus by being a member of the Academic Senate and being the Spanish Department Fellow this year. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend and present at conferences such as the Alpha Mu Gamma National Convention and the WAICU conference.”
“I’m heavily involved on campus. I’m a member of Circle K International, Honors Council, Residence Life Council, Alpha Lambda Delta, Alpha Mu Gamma, and I’m Vice President of Chinese Club. I also serve on Student Government as Circle K’s representative, and I am one of two Student Representatives to the Academic Senate. Additionally, I work in the Writing Center as a Writing Fellow and am a Resident Assistant in Denhart Residence Hall.”
Favorite moments at Carthage
“My favorite moment at Carthage was going on the Honors Rope Trip and meeting some of my best friends. Even though we had only known each other for a few hours, we knew that these would be friendships that would last a lifetime.”
Biggest surprise so far?
“The biggest surprise for me has been the amount of opportunities I have been given in the past year. It’s amazing how many important and amazing people I’ve gotten to work with and the amount of projects I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of.”
What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?
“My 8-year-old self would be confused as to why I didn’t become a teacher like my parents, but excited at the possibility of traveling across the globe.”
Advice for other students considering your major
“Study what you love! Even if other people think your combinations of majors/minors is unorthodox, if you love it that’s what matters. You will be far more successful in something that you love. Also, take every opportunity given to you. Even if you’re a little stressed now and then everything can be a learning experience if you let it.”