Study abroad, interdisciplinary opportunities abound

By Alexa Ganzeveld ’21, Britt Avery ’22, Hope Mather ’22 and Hannah Witte ’21


When Shaila Vera ’21 came to Wartburg, she majored in computer information systems because she enjoyed working with spreadsheets and the business side of information systems. During her second year, Vera realized that Spanish was a better fit for her.

“I thought it was really interesting to understand the history behind the language. Looking at how it originated and how it varies from country to country, or region to region,” said Vera, of Chicago, Illinois, who is now majoring in Spanish and business administration.

Vera knew she didn’t want to be a Spanish teacher and was able to explore a variety of fields during a study abroad opportunity in Spain and two terms at Wartburg West, an experiential learning opportunity in Denver, Colo.

At Wartburg West, Vera completed an internship with The Bridge Project, a community outreach program that assists youth from Denver’s public housing neighborhoods graduate from high school and go on to attend college or choose a vocation. The organization engages them in educational opportunities and facilitates the development of life skills and self-sufficiency.

“I taught Spanish to kindergarten students and tutor students whose first language is Spanish. That’s one of the opportunities that has helped guide me into the career path that I want to do,” said Vera.

Shaila Vera

During summer 2020, Vera went to Wartburg West again, interning at College Track Colorado, an organization that works to increase high school graduation, college eligibility and enrollment, and college graduation rates among communities underrepresented in higher education. During this internship, Vera interacted with Spanish-speaking students to help them achieve their academic goals.

“Take advantage of every single opportunity that is available to you, even if you have a doubt about it. I had a few doubts about some of my internships, but they’ve turned out to be the best thing that I’ve done just because it’s helped me guide me to the career path that I want to be in,” Vera said, who plans on taking advantage of the college’s fifth-year tuition-free option before moving back to Denver to join the Urban Servant Corps or AmeriCorps.

Spanish majors at Wartburg receive an in-depth study of another culture and the opportunity to live abroad for an extended period of time, that will provide insight into how other cultures view the world, as well as a better understanding of American culture.

“Take a Spanish class. It’s really nice to get to know a language, regardless of whether you are fluent or not. The same goes for every other departments. It’s good to just know about a language and expand your tongue so that you can learn how to communicate with people better,” Vera said.