"With the wealth of experiences I had at Luther, both in and out of the classroom, I feel prepared to take on any new role that I wish to pursue."
Immediately after graduating, Ryan worked as a counselor and taught Spanish at one of the Concordia Language Villages. “I’m currently teaching English in a primary school in Madrid, Spain,” he says. “I’ve enjoyed both experiences so much that I have decided to pursue them even further.”
In a few months, he’ll return to Concordia Language Villages to be a Spanish high school credit teacher. “Immediately after, I’ll teach English abroad for a second year at a private school in Shanghai, China,” he says. “Eventually, I plan to pursue a career in clinical speech language pathology.”
Being able to speak Spanish enabled Ryan to find employment outside of the United States. His international studies major prepared him to deal with the challenges that he’s faced living in a country and culture that isn’t his own. “Also, studying linguistics has given me the skills and knowledge to live in China, a country where I don’t speak the language,” he says. “But with my background in linguistics, I have extra tools to help me learn a completely new language easier than I would have been able to before.”
Ryan believes that his Luther education prepared him to be successful in a world where people have multiple careers in one lifetime. “I'm currently focusing on second language teaching: going from teaching Spanish in the United States to teaching English abroad multiple times,” he says. “But I know it won't be the end of my career path. Eventually I’ll complete a graduate degree in something that is unrelated to what I am currently doing, like speech language pathology. And with the wealth of experiences I had at Luther, both in and out of the classroom, I feel prepared to take on any new role that I wish to pursue.”
While at Luther, Ryan worked as a Spanish and linguistics tutor. “In these situations, I learned how to explain complex concepts in simple and creative ways, which is a skill that is directly helping me now that I have been working as both a Spanish and English teacher in the United States and abroad,” he says. “One of my other work-study positions was working as a grading assistant for multiple professors in the Spanish department. This gave me the opportunity to interact with faculty on a more personal level and get a closer look at what it's like to teach in a college setting.”
Being a member of the Luther College Concert Band made a big impact on Ryan. “At the end of all our concerts, we would play two pieces back-to-back: ‘Who Puts His Trust in God Most Just’ and ‘Stars and Stripes Forever,’” he says. “This tradition goes back over 100 years, starting with the ensemble's first director, Carlo Sperati.” Ryan found being a part of such a long-standing Luther College tradition was extremely humbling. “It gave me an immense sense of connection with my fellow Concert Band members as we performed those pieces together. It’s something I’ll always remember whenever I think back on my time at Luther.”
“The Luther experience really is what you make of it. You have to make the sometimes uncomfortable choice to try a new class or join a different student organization. I tried a wide variety during my four years at Luther, and while not every group gave me what I was looking for, I made new friends and learned something important from each of them.”