STUDENT FROM PANAMA SHARES HIS LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

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International Language Partner Kevin Young

 

Kevin Young (’13 Supply Chain Management and Finance), a senior from Panama and a Spanish language partner, discusses his involvement at the University of Maryland across several fields.

 

The Language Partner Program (LPP) at the University of Maryland is the perfect opportunity for students, both local and international, to meet other students with different backgrounds from their own. Kevin Young, a senior from Panama and a Spanish language partner, reflects these sentiments through his involvement in the program. As a native Spanish speaker, Young has thoroughly enjoyed teaching his partners from the past two semesters not only Spanish language, but about the culture of Latin America as well. He explains that in addition to meeting with him for one-hour, weekly sessions, his partners must also write about what they have learned from him during each week’s session. Over the course of the program, Young happily discovered that  he was not conversing in Spanish to random students—his conversation partners were students interested in his language and culture, and he ultimately became friends with them, which, for him, as an international student, is “a big thing.”

Young is double-majoring in supply chain management and finance on a full-ride scholarship from the Panamanian government. As he phrases it, “So the deal is supposed to be—well, it is—four years here in college, and then I have to go back to Panama and work for four years, too.” When he returns to Panama after graduation, he must work in either the Panamanian business sector or for a government institution. Young hopes to work for the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), which is responsible for all affairs, particularly logistics, related to the Canal..

Since the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland is highly regarded internationally and the supply chain management program therein was ranked in the top ten in the country when Young enrolled, he chose UMD above the other schools to which he was accepted. Another factor playing into his decision to attend UMD is Young’s father, who completed his doctoral work two years ago at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where Young actually lived for two years prior to applying to UMD.

Currently, Young is a resident in the Italian cluster of the Language House because of interests that arose when he studied abroad for a semester in Rome. As a Language House resident, Young is learning more Italian and taking courses to “reinforce the grammar,” which he says is fairly easy due to the amount of overlap between Italian and Spanish. He also recently played a dramatic role in the Italian cluster’s film that took first prize at the Language House’s Around the World Film Festival on October 24, 2012. Because he now lives in the Language House, and overcame the challenges of being accepted by the Robert H. Smith School of Business early in his college career, Young is taking this semester to really focus on studying and practicing languages. He looks to the future with a certain degree of anxiety, though—as a senior he expresses, “Lately, I’m realizing that I’m in control of my decisions, which is [kind of] scary because I’m going into the real world in a few months.” Young hopes that all his experiences at UMD, including the professional and social interactions in the Language Partner Program and Language House Immersion Program, will help propel him forward.

 

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