Meghan Martin

Meghan Martin, a 2022 graduate, has been living in Madrid, Spain, working as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) and using her undergraduate Spanish degree. While at U-M, she studied Biology, Health and Society, as well as Spanish.  

Meghan’s mom put her in her first after-school Spanish classes at the age of three. After taking these classes up until middle school, it was a no-brainer for Meghan to continue her Spanish studies formally in high school.

“It was my mom’s decision and motivation that got me to start being exposed to language at a young age,” Meghan said. “I feel like I received such a gift that I didn’t even know how to ask for.”

After high school, Meghan said she was unsure of what she wanted to do and who she wanted to be. Applying undecided, she took many general education classes to see what she was drawn to and explore her interests. After her freshman year, she found that she loved her Spanish and biology classes, so decided to declare her double major.

“My biggest struggle was that I didn’t know the difference between a temporary interest and a passion,” Meghan said.

Meghan’s original passion for both Spanish and biology was her desire to connect, interact with, and serve people who were different from herself. Now, reflecting on her time in college, Meghan realized that the thing she loves most about double majoring was that she could explore unique aspects of herself through each.

“Each major stimulated different parts of my brain and my soul,” Meghan said. “The biology part was more practical and memorization-based, while Spanish nurtured my desire to communicate with other people. These two majors pushed my brain in different ways, so much so that I felt completely balanced when I had both.”

Meghan highlighted four classes that she was grateful to take at the Romance Languages and Literatures Department: Spanish 295: Introduction to Literature, Culture, and the Arts in the Hispanic World, Spanish 415: Problems in Language Translation , Spanish 421: Cinema from Spain, and Spanish 333: Techniques of Pronunciation and Oral Expression. 

“Spanish translation was a transformative experience for me,” Meghan said. “I learned so much about how our understanding of English as a native language informs our understanding of our second language, and why we make the mistakes we do.”

Meghan’s advice for anyone considering taking Spanish is to nurture your curiosity and integrate it into other interests you may have. While Meghan knows some people have the misconception that Spanish classes are all about grammar and rules, she wants to push students to find a unique Spanish class that interests them. RLL offers many unique courses such as Medical Spanish, Spanish for Business, and Spanish Film. 

“Spanish to me is something that is alive, it’s growing, it’s developing,” Meghan said. 

For the past year, Meghan has been working in Spain as an English teacher in a public school classroom. She works with fifth and sixth graders, teaching them about linguistics, pronunciation, and conversation in a second language.

“It was really important for me to immerse myself in the culture and jump in, because I think being a language teacher, in any capacity, is so important,” Meghan said.

After completing her second year in Madrid, Meghan is tentatively planning to move back to the U.S. and apply to speech language pathology schools. With this career, she hopes to combine her biology education with her language experience. 

Meghan would like to give a shout out to Steph Goetz, who taught her to always listen to what sets her world on fire.