Student Spotlight: Jonas Chan
Name: Jonas Chan
Major: Applied Languages & Intercultural Studies (ALIS)—Spanish & pre-med track
Anticipated Graduation Date: Spring 2023
Favorite class: Spanish Sociolinguistics
Favorite professor: Dr. Danielle Geary
Internships/clubs: VP Marketing for International Ambassadors at Georgia Tech (GTIA), Modern Languages Student Advisory Committee
Most helpful resource in the School of Modern Languages: The Spanish professors (shout out to Dr. Cecilia Montes-Alcalá & Dr. Danielle Geary) & major advisor (shout out to Dr. Mirla González)
Why did you choose to study your language track at Georgia Tech?
Spanish holds a special place in my heart. I think that the language is beautiful, but I fell in love with Spanish because of the people I have met. My closest friends are Hispanic, and through showing me their culture, I was enamored. Every time I speak Spanish, whether it is in class or with my friends, I feel happy and at ease; it is comforting.
What’s the coolest research/project/initiative/event you’ve worked on in Modern Languages?
In my Spanish Sociolinguistics class, I was able to record native speakers and identify the filler words and sounds most commonly used. It was really cool to be able to analyze real life speech and relate that to what I learned in class. In addition, it provided me insight in how to make my own Spanish sound more natural and fluid.
How does a degree from Modern Languages contribute to your life plans?
I chose a degree from Modern Languages because it gives me fulfillment on an emotional and mental sense. I can explore a field of study that is vastly different than my pre-med track. In addition, my fluency in Spanish will allow me to connect with a wider audience. Directly related to my future career as a physician, I can provide better care and can relate better with patients than if I could only speak English.
What has been your biggest challenge at Georgia Tech, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge at Tech has been finding a balance between studying and having fun. It was a learning curve that took time for me to realize that only studying is not healthy, and it is important to make time for things that are fun and make me happy. I overcame this by joining GTIA where I met so many people. In addition, I block out time daily to do something fun and relaxing whether it is socializing with friends or going out.
What is the biggest change you see in yourself now from when you started at Georgia Tech?
My ability to balance studying and doing well in classes with socializing with friends. Especially this past year, I have found this balance, and I can tell that I am happier since I am doing things that allow me to destress.
What is your greatest achievement since coming to Georgia Tech?
Figuring out myself and being more confident is what I would consider my greatest achievement. Being unapologetically and authentically me.
What’s your favorite spot on campus and why?
The big wooden steps in the CULC because I have memories of meeting there before classes and catching up with friends.
What has been your favorite/most memorable moment in Modern Languages?
My most memorable moments are staying after classes and talking to Dr. Geary about our shared passion for Spanish and also just getting to know her as a person. Hearing her talk about stories of her trips and her life is something I value because it allows me to hear about other experiences and perspectives.
What advice would you give to incoming students in the School of Modern Languages?
Learning a language truly opens your eyes to a different perspective. The ability to speak to someone else in a different language is so rewarding. I would tell incoming students to take at least a few language classes. It will challenge you to think in ways that really open your mind.
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