Alumni Stories


Nicole Raisleger

Open in full sizeAfter graduating from UWGB with a major in Spanish and a minor in Human Development I felt like there was so much more I could do with my second-language knowledge and experience. After discovering the worldwide organization AIESEC through UWGB, I was introduced to an abundance of different internship opportunities all over the world. I applied for and was accepted to a year-long internship in Costa Rica teaching English at a company. I have not only seen many different areas of Costa Rica (Nicaragua as well) I have also seen and experienced a completely different way of life than that of what I am used to, and to that of what I experienced while studying in Spain. Experiencing life in a developing country has changed the way I see the world, has allowed me to take great pride in all that I have in Green Bay, and has helped me become a better, more well-rounded person in general. To think that this is only the beginning of the rest of my life is such a cool realization! Oh the places I can go!

Elizabeth Binsfeld (Schill)

Open in full sizeAfter graduating in December, 2006, I moved to Oceanside, CA to teach Spanish in a Charter High School for a year. It was an incredible year, with many visits south of the border to Mexico and the opportunity to practice my Spanish with the many Spanish-speaking students. The school closed in the summer of 2008 due to financial issues and that same day I heard the bad news, I had also received a call from my high school Spanish teacher in La Crosse, WI. She told me that she was moving to Madison, WI and wanted me to take over her position. As sad as I was to leave California, I returned to La Crosse, took the job, got married in May, 2010, and am in my third year of teaching and supervising the Spanish Club at my former high school. I am also taking my first group of students abroad to Spain in spring, 2011.

I began a Spanish Masters Program through California State University- Sacramento in the summer of 2009 and it is perfect for teachers. You have seven years (most finish in three) to take classes in Linguistics, Peninsular and Hispanic-American literature, and Culture while traveling to a different Spanish-speaking country each summer (Spain, Guatemala, Peru, or Mexico) with a group. Although it is a challenging class schedule, the opportunity to live in the culture is amazing!

I really appreciate and value all of the fantastic experiences that I had in Green Bay and always enjoy talking about the wonderful Spanish program with my own students. ¡Muchos saludos!


Ashley Prest

Open in full sizeMy Senior year of college I made the decision to Study Abroad in Spain. Coming to this decision was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. The mere thought of spending a semester abroad was incredibly tempting, but it seemed that for every positive aspect, I would create two or three reasons why I simply "could not" do such a crazy thing. After talking to people about my options, I finally took a leap of faith and signed up for the program. At the time, I really had no idea what I had gotten myself into--it was the most spontaneous thing I had ever done. As the months passed, and the time quickly approached, I grew more anxious and nervous and wondered what I was thinking! Nothing could have prepared me for the 5 months that I spent living in Spain. I won't lie, when I got there I experienced culture shock, which is completely normal, it is was quite hard for me to adjust. But after awhile, once I got my routine down and became more familiar with my surroundings, I was able to let my walls down and open up and experience all that Spain had to offer. My time spent abroad was beyond amazing; for me it was life-changing. I grew so much as a person and I also learned so much about myself, shaping me into a person I never dreamed I could be. The five months that seemed like forever initially flew by in the blink of an eye and before I knew it my heart was breaking as I had to close the doors on the most amazing experience of my life.

When I left Spain, I knew that I was forever changed, but it wasn't until I had to re-immerse myself back into the States, that I noticed the extent of the changes that had occurred in the few short months I lived abroad. I didn't even recognize the person I had become. My outlook on life had changed drastically, as I had become more relaxed, (a definite side-affect of immersing myself in the Spanish lifestyle) optimistic and open-minded, intrigued by the possibilities of learning about and experiencing the world. It did not take me long before I realized that the world was truly at my finger-tips and that I would never again be satisfied with living within my comforts of what I was surrounded with. Since then, the world has defined me.

With my new sense of independence and outlook I have began to travel the world. Several months after I returned to the States, I headed to Kenya alone, where I volunteered at an Orphanage for three weeks. I have been back to Europe several times since my semester abroad, including this past summer when my friend and I spent 2 weeks backpacking through Europe. Living abroad helped me realize that I am young and I need to take advantage of all the opportunities I can so after a lot of research, I applied to teach English in South Korea. I recently moved here and am living right outside of Seoul. In the short time I have been here I have grown to love everything about this experience! I will be living here for at least a year, if not longer! Seeing the World, being able to meet new people and experience other cultures is incredibly fulfilling and enriching. I have found true happiness in life, and to think that it all began when I was faced with the difficult decision to study abroad. To anyone that is faced with the same decision that I had---just do it. You will always come up with reasons not to, but I can guarantee you, that you will not regret it. It will be life-changing and incredible. The world is at your fingertips, take advantage of these amazing opportunities while you still can. Don't let them slip away because you will never know what doors will open up for you! Carpe Diem---"Seize the Day."

Ryan Johnson

Open in full sizeI was at UW-Green Bay between 1996 and 2000 and received majors in Human Biology and Spanish.

Upon graduation from UW-Green Bay in 2000, I went to the University of Wisconsin Medical School and graduated in 2004 with a Medical Doctor degree. In 2004, I started the Anesthesiology Residency Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, which I will finish in 2008. I have always been interested in pursing a career in medicine, even as far back as starting my education at UW-Green Bay, and feel fortunate that things have worked out as planned. I would consider my first full time job to be my residency training (since you are paid a salary and function as a physician, even though you are still receiving training) in anesthesiology. Specific duties within this job include providing anesthesia care for any surgical procedure (cardiac, neurological, pediatric, orthopedic, general, obstetrics/gynecologic, thoracic, ENT, etc).

Upon entering college I had not planned on studying a great deal of Spanish. My goals were to go to medical school and I had planned to focus on the sciences during my undergraduate training. Spanish was something I had studied in high school as I was told that foreign language studies may be looked at favorably for college admission. I found that I enjoyed my Spanish classes in high school, and continued to enjoy learning the language in college. I kept taking Spanish classes more out of interest than long term career goals. Nevertheless, Spanish has proven to be the most useful area of study I could have chosen. It helped me to be accepted into medical school among a variety of candidates who for the most part all have a strong science background. A second non-science major such as Spanish makes an applicant appear more well-rounded. Also, the need for Spanish interpreters or healthcare workers who speak Spanish continues to grow as immigration continues. Spanish has been useful to me on many occasions in order to communicate with patients, and was used daily on rotations in bigger cities. Spanish has also allowed me to do academic and medical rotations in places such as Mexico and Ecuador.

On a personal level, Spanish has enriched my life greatly through numerous trips abroad which I have greatly enjoyed, through many Spanish speaking friends whom I have met over the years, and by helping me to meet my wife Margarita (who was an exchange student from Mexico at UWGB). Spanish fluency opens a new world of experiences and communication in Central/South America and Europe, and foreign travel has helped me to improve my adaptability and overall perspective on life. I believe that regardless of one's chosen career path, Spanish fluency will continue to be a skill that is sought after by employers or higher academics admission committees in their application.

Elizabeth Moran

Open in full sizeI got my Bachelor of Arts degree with a Double Major in Urban Planning and Spanish. I graduated in December 2004, degree officially received in Spring 2005.

I began and continue to work as a clinical research assistant at the Medical College/Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, for the Department of Pediatrics. Our Center name is the Center for the Advancement of Underserved Children. Our Center focuses on academic community research helping promote and improve the well being and health of underserved children. The staff and faculty here have inspired me to continue onto higher education. I am currently studying for the Graduate Entrance Exam (GRE) looking into the field of Public Health or a related specialty.

My main roles are to coordinate focus group discussions and enroll participants into a number of research projects, nearly all qualitative research and intervention. We cover community health issues in asthma, obesity, bottle-feeding, infant mortality, language barriers, mentorship and more. I coordinate and moderate focus group discussions in English and Spanish, often provide health and community resources to our participants, keep constant communication and relationship with community professionals, attend weekly meetings and work closely with community pediatricians in their research.

Spanish has helped me communicate with research participants and with professionals. I've added health interpreter training to my background, besides the Spanish program that is offered at UWGB, which has helped me in the health industry. Trained Spanish-speaking professionals are needed in many urban communities, accuracy is significant.