Meet Abby Gibson, UPEI Modern Languages graduate (Class of 2022)
What brought you to UPEI? Why did you choose to study here?
I’m from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and I chose to study at UPEI because I liked the idea of smaller class sizes to be able to have closer contact with my professors and classmates. Also, being an Islander, the funding opportunities for Island students gave me the chance to study debt free.
What do you find unique and interesting about UPEI’s Modern Languages (French, Spanish) programs?
I loved my time studying in the Modern Languages program because outside of class, we got opportunities to practice and learn with native speakers in labs and conversation classes. The professors in the program also come from many different backgrounds, which exposes students to a diverse range of accents, vocabulary, and cultural knowledge in their language of study.
"This program can be a stepping stone towards many different careers around the world, whether you want to teach language, translate, or work internationally."
What kinds of support did you receive during your time here from UPEI students, staff, and faculty members?
All my professors supported me through personalized feedback and one-on-one communication. As a student assistant in both the French and Spanish programs, I also received plenty of support from my colleagues and supervisors in terms of my work, but also in my continued success as a student.
What kinds of opportunities did you experience as a student which have led to your current work?
By being exposed to many different native-speaking language assistants in UPEI’s Modern Languages program, I was inspired to become a language assistant myself. Now, thanks to the support from all my professors, I am living and working as an English language assistant and cultural ambassador in Spain. I couldn't have undertaken this job without the skills and experience I gained as a Spanish lab instructor in my fourth year, or without the encouragement of my professors.
What's unique about UPEI, and Prince Edward Island, in your experience?
As an Islander, I take pride in my hometown, and I think UPEI is a great example of how wonderful our province is. With both a lot of domestic students choosing to stay on PEI for their post-secondary education, and a large community of international students from around the world, UPEI is an important center of diversity and integration. It is so important to have a variety of perspectives both in an academic environment, and beyond.
What's your current role and how did your UPEI education prepare you for success?
This year, I'm working in a high school in Spain as an English language assistant and cultural ambassador. While in my final year at UPEI, I had the opportunity to work in the department as a Spanish lab assistant, where I gave first year students the chance to practice their listening and speaking skills. This role prepared me well for the job I'm doing now, which is to give Spanish students the chance to speak and practice with a native English speaker. Also, I never would've been brave enough to move to a foreign country without a foundation in the language. In four years, I went from not speaking Spanish at all to living fully immersed in Spain with complete confidence in my Spanish skills.
What would you tell a high school student considering UPEI's Modern Languages program?
I would tell any high school student interested in studying one or more of the languages offered at UPEI that this program is a great opportunity to work closely with your peers and professors, and to learn from and work with native speakers. This program can be a stepping stone towards many different careers around the world, whether you want to teach language, translate, or work internationally.
Any student considering the UPEI Modern Languages program should know that they would be lucky to study so closely under such wonderful, knowledgeable professors, and as a UPEI student, they would be part of a supportive, close-knit community of learners.