From alumna Rebecca Garate:
My story starts prior to graduating from Queens. The last semester of my junior year at Queens I studied abroad in Ecuador. Here I met a wonderful man and we soon married. We then moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina together to study for another semester. After living in Buenos Aires for about six months we traveled by bus through Uruguay, Brazil, went down the Amazon River on a small public boat, through Bolivia, Peru, and back to Ecuador.
My last semester I returned to Queens and graduated with bachelors degrees in Spanish Language and International Studies. Upon graduation I moved back to Ecuador for five months to live with my husband's family in Cuenca.
We moved to the Seattle area in November 2005 where I worked for a manufacturing company's sales department. I was in charge of working with all of our Latin American clients and used my Spanish frequently. I then went on to work for a travel agency where I was able to use my language skills to work with hotels and other travel partners in Latin America and Spain.
In 2007 I began working on a master's degree in International Studies at the University of Sydney in Australia. We I lived in Australia for about 14 months and then traveled to Singapore, Malaysia, Malaysian Borneo, Thailand, Laos and South Korea. During our time in Australia we started a company called El Nomad Immersion Programs. We work with international students and groups that come to Ecuador for semesters or years abroad, customized group programs, volunteer experiences, and international internships.
In 2008, we returned to the United States and I worked for Central Washington University's Study Abroad and Exchange Programs office as a faculty-led program coordinator and study abroad advisor for the Spanish-speaking world.
In January of 2010 we found out we were expecting our first child and decided to move back to Ecuador. We packed up and left Washington State in our Jeep and drove 8,000 miles from Seattle to Ecuador. It took us six weeks and was a wonderful adventure!
Our daughter Kesha was born in Cuenca, Ecuador in fall 2010. I am now working as the International Program Director for El Nomad Immersion Programs. I work with our international university partners to provide quality Spanish language and culture, volunteer, and internship experiences to students, develop new group and individual programs, and work with international program participants on-site in Cuenca to ensure they have the best international experience possible.
Queens provided me with the flexibility to study abroad to master my language skills and the opportunity to study where I wanted. Without my Spanish language training at Queens I would not be where I am in my life right now... My decision to study Spanish language has served me in every job I have had. Spanish is not simply something to study, but a skill that will serve those who develop it for the rest of their lives.