I first learned about linguistics during a year abroad in Costa Rica. I felt invigorated by the experience of simultaneously acquiring both language ability and metapragmatic awareness of linguistic structure.
I use this blog to engender the same degree of dynamic reflexivity.
For me, the practical problem came when I got back home. I was suppossed to figure out what to do with my life!
I knew what I was passionate about, but I did not know how to turn that into meaningful employment. So I went wherever language led me. First it was working as a server in a Mexican restaurant, and picked up some miscellaneous jobs teaching English and Spanish. Just when I started applying to jobs at universities to work with study abroad programs, I got offered an opportunity to move to NYC, and within a few months, my ability to speak Spanish got me hired as an “interpreter” in an investment bank. Linguistics was there at the back of my mind all along, and when I learned that my company would pay me to get an MA if I could just convince them that it would help me do my job better, I began the pitch that I spiel to this day about: That once you see that language structures experience everywhere you look, you want to be better able to harness its power. This brought me to the position I have today in the interpretation unit of the FrameWorks Institute, where I work with social change advocates to build understanding about their work through more effective and strategic communication.
But before I came here, I was at Georgetown University for a number of years, teaching students to find professional expression of their skills and training in sociolinguistics. This sparked an interest which continues to this day – how to help linguists bring their awareness of language and culture to their job search.
Ultimately this process involves creafting and telling a series of very important narratives. And this is only the beginning! The skills that you cultivate as a linguist will serve you in navigating whatever the future brings, whether that be a job, further study, or simply a better understanding how you interact with the people in your life. Language is everywhere, tell me about where you see it!