Jenna Xenos

Through junior Jenna Xenos’ studies of Spanish and Philosophy at U-M, she has found a love for Catalan. After taking an Introduction to Catalan Culture and Language course in 2022, she grew curious about “what was really going on in Catalonia.” Jenna thought U-M was the perfect place to pursue her questions and take advantage of the opportunity to learn more.

Jenna believes that pairing philosophy with Spanish will help her gain a deeper understanding of Spanish-speaking cultures and their philosophical traditions.

“While on the surface, the connection between Spanish and Philosophy might seem far off, I see many connections,” Jenna said. “First off, philosophy offers critical thinking, analytical, and argumentation skills that can enhance my ability to engage deeply with Spanish literature, culture, and history. Also, given that philosophy often delves into questions of ethics, morality, and cultural values.”

When she first came to U-M, Jenna thought she would major in linguistics, but quickly realized that RLL was a great environment and she wanted to pursue a major in Spanish. With this new understanding, she also switched over to philosophy with the intention of pursuing a law degree post graduation. She highly recommends other students to pursue studying Catalan if they have a chance.

“Learning a completely new language at this stage might be a little daunting, but it is one the coolest experiences RLL has to offer in my opinion,” Jenna said. “You’ll be a part of the only program in Michigan that offers Catalan coursework and one of only 17 universities in the entire country that offer it as well. The Catalan community here is so small, that it is such a tight knit group that offers some of the best kind of support. It was such a cool experience knowing that I was one of only 6 students last semester learning Catalan at the university level in Michigan.”

Out of all her Catalan coursework, Jenna’s favorite has been Advanced Catalan Language and Culture because the class dives deep in Catalan history and goes beyond the basics of the structure of the language.

Profe. Coll has been my favorite Professor at the University of Michigan, and she gives all of her students the opportunity to do their absolute best and supports you in any way that she can,” Jenna said. “My best advice overall would be to take the class, even if you have the slightest interest in it! It truly changed my perspective on my studies here at Michigan.”

In the future, Jenna hopes to study abroad next summer in one of the 400 level programs to complete her Spanish major. She wants to choose a program in Spain and then continue her studies in Barcelona with the Institut Ramon Llul that offers Catalan classes. Long term, Jenna wants to go to law school, and is very interested in pursuing a career in immigration law.