Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Overcoming Cultural Barriers

Many students change majors throughout college. For Vol State student Aaron Doyka, this change came after a well thought out research paper. Doyka is a Foreign Language major with a concentration is Spanish.

“I started as a Psychology major, but changed it so that I would have a better chance of studying abroad. I’m studying Spanish,” said Doyka.

“When I had to do my ten page research paper for English, the subject I chose to research was secondary language education in the U.S. public schools. I found it was pretty inadequate both in teaching students who speak another language to speak English, as well as students whose primary language is English to speak a second language,” said Doyka.

Doyka’s passion for learning Spanish goes beyond finding a better paying job. “I’m passionate about it because I want to interact with the Hispanic community and be able to communicate with Spanish speaking people,” he said.

“One of the first things that sparked my interest in foreign language was when I was working in a kitchen. I was the only English speaker, and that made me aware of what it felt like to be a minority. None of the Spanish training so far has given me fluency. I’m going to Spain in May as part of the TNCIS (The Tennessee Consortium of International Studies) program to study Intermediate Spanish 2,” Doyka said.

Doyka said he feels that there is a lack of interest in learning a foreign language. “Since there is a lack of interest in developing foreign language at Vol State, the Spanish 2010 class has been cancelled for many semesters. It is only offered online right now. It seems like the students aren’t interested, and the school doesn’t encourage it,” he said.

Doyka is passionate about the learning of foreign language for two main reasons. “The first reason is basically for the unity of our country because the Spanish speaking population continues to grow and the language barrier is causing division. The second reason is because learning about language is learning about the culture that uses that language,” he said. Doyka also stated that this is the case for any foreign language, but his concentration right now is on Spanish.

Doyka is very active in Vol State activities. He is the Secretary of Treasury with the Student Government Association, active in Phi Theta Kappa, and in the honors program working towards and honors degree. “I’m involved as a student volunteer with S.E.E.K. (Solutions in Enriched Experiences and Knowledge), and I play guitar and like to hike,” he said.

Doyka plans to graduate in fall 2010.

Volunteer State Community College

1 comment:

Anne-Marie Ruttenbur said...

Congratulations on receiving a Vol State TnCIS scholarship. Other students who are interested in applying for travel/study scholarships should email me at

Anne-Marie Ruttenbur
Vol State International Education