I asked Alejandra to send pictures of her beautiful Bolivia. Here they are. Enjoy!
I love my job as a French and Spanish high school teacher. Over the years, I have kept in touch with many of my former students. I have learned so much from them. In the 2008-2009 school year I had two foreign students take French and Spanish with me. One student came from Munich Germany and the other from Bolivia. I have been able to keep in touch with Alejandra via email. I am so very proud of the progress she has made with her writing skills in English. I remember her doing extremely well in my French class. I decided to interview Alejandra, so today I present to you Ms. Alejandra Galindo Blanco.
1) Can you please tell the readers about yourself?
Hello to you all, first of all, I would like to thank Mrs. Weaver so much for this opportunity!
Well, my name is Alejandra Blanco Galindo. I am a current med school student in my country.
Some of the things I love to do are dancing, reading, writing, listening to music, hanging out with friends, and above all: learning new languages and cultures!
Yes, I am studying medicine, think that I truly love and feel most passionate about! but languages are, as I say: “My first love.”
2) Where are you from?
I was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for those who do not know. Bolivia is in the middle of South America, between Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Peru, and Cochabamba is in the middle of Bolivia, so we love to say that Bolivia is “The heart of South America!.”
For those who have heard about Bolivia, I am mostly sure that all you heard is about the problems we have here, but through and through, I love my country!
It is so beautiful!
3) How many languages do you speak?
I speak three fluent languages: Spanish, English and German, and I also know some French… and well, some words in Italian and Russian.
4) Can you tell the readers about your native country? Is the educational system different?
Bolivia is a country in a very bad political, social and economic situation. Something that makes me feel sad, is that Bolivia has many Natural Wonders!, it is simply AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL!!!! However, we do not do anything about it!
However, above all, what worries and actually makes me feel very sad is precisely the educational part…
The system is different in many ways, for we start school in February. Our winter vacations are in July, and we end School year in November, so it is the opposite of the US System!.
And there also is the parts that we do not choose our classes, we all have to learn the same things. However, it all depends on the school; which are, mostly, Primary, middle and high school all in one both public and private.
I was in a private school so can’t really say much about the public system.
5) You took French with me for one semester; can you tell the readers why you came to Denver?
I went to the US for 5 and half months, in order to know the country, its culture and its people, and what better way to do so than by getting into a high-school?
I went to high school in Denver because I have some family up there, and they invited me to stay with them!
I really have no words to express my feeling towards Denver, and above all my amazing friends and teachers at George Washington High School. They became like a family to me, and all in less than a semester!
I loved the people in the US. They are all so welcoming and warm. That trip was definitely one of the things that made me who I am now… It became a huge part of me, and all because my friends and amazing teachers, who helped me, see all from a new different point of view!
6) Since returning to your native country have you continued with your study of French?
Yes, I have, but unfortunately, not for too long… I had many things to do, and was always busy.
I took German classes, and then I got into the “Alliance Française” for some time, but had to drop it… I do regret it so much! However, I know I wouldn’t have been able to go on with it… but I never gave up on the language! Even now, every time I have some free hours, even minutes. I study and practice French by myself! what can I say? I just love it!, it is such a sweet, interesting and amusing language! “The language of love”, and have you read about the French culture It is great!
7) What are your career goals?
Well, for most of the readers, it might sound a bit odd, to hear that I was eager to get a degree in languages before!. Yes, indeed! It was my dream, since I was a little girl!. I wanted to be an interpreter, and my biggest fantasy was to work in the United Nations! I mean, can you imagine? Working in the UN as an interpreter, traveling, helping people understand each other? Can you? I most certainly did see myself in that job!
However, as time passes by, people change, and I discovered a bigger love… Medicine! I love it, because I can finally do the things, I love, which are: Helping people and doing biological research!
However, as I said before, languages are my first love, and will forever be half of me! so I will never stop learning them, nor will I stop trying to speak them!
Right now, my university is so full of Brazilians, that every day I learn some words in Portuguese! so what else could I ask for? The three things I love the most are all in my university!
And once I am done with my M.D. Degree, I would like to go to the US in order to do my Residency program. For now, what I like the most is Neurosurgery, but I am just starting! So I have 6 more years to see what I really want.
8) What are your thoughts on the importance of studying a foreign language?
Wow… tough question! I mean, there are so many things!
First of all, I consider it is one of the most important things one could learn, because humans are made to communicate with each other, to express themselves and to help others, so can you think of any way to communicate, properly communicate, if we don’t speak the same language? It is impossible!
Just try to picture yourself in a foreign country… let’s say France, and you do not speak French. No one speaks to you in English, because French people are quite proud of their language and with reasons!. So you are there, on your own, and you don’t understand the signs on the streets, so you are basically lost! And you can’t ask for any help, or when you try, no one understands you… It would be terrible! wouldn’t it?
Then there is the part of the culture, knowing as much as you can is the only way to live!
If you know English, then why wouldn’t you learn Spanish, French and German?
Even if you don’t have any plans to travel, or knowing new people, new cultures, becoming a greater person, even so, it doesn’t do anything but good to learn more.
Please do not stop learning, do not give up if something seems difficult, and do not stop caring about languages!
That’s how we communicate with other people from different parts of the world. Communication separates us from the animal species, we are unique, and that’s what makes us humans, our abilities to communicate with words.
9) Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers?
Yes, I would like to share two amazing quotes:
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Mahatma Gandhi
“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great. Some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em.”
Thanks so much Alejandra for doing this interview.
Thank you so much Mrs. Weaver for giving me this amazing chance, opportunity and experience!!!