Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Undergraduate Spotlight: Claire Abs

Tue, March 26, 2019
Undergraduate Spotlight: Claire Abs

Hello! My name is Claire Abs and I am a fourth year at UT graduating this May with a Bachelor’s in Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures and a minor in Linguistics. I came into undergrad at UT wanting to do the one thing I knew I actually enjoyed and was good at: languages. Although not a native speaker, I had always loved my Spanish classes growing up so this program was a way for me to explore that passion and become a more sophisticated and confident Spanish speaker. However, the class that solidified my love for languages was POR 610S, or Portuguese for Spanish speakers. In this fast-paced and intensive course I developed a passion for an entirely new language and new parts of the world, eventually led me to travel to Salvador da Bahia, Brazil for a Maymester. The most interesting things that I have learned in my coursework have been what I discovered in my sociolinguistics classes, where I studied how language and society interact. It is fascinating to understand both the extralinguistic and linguistic factors that affect the way people communicate. It was my interest in sociolinguistics that led me to perform research with a graduate student mentor on the geographical, ethnographic, and linguistic factors that influence the use of certain slang words in Miami, Florida. Cultivating my knowledge and skills in the Spanish and Portuguese languages has gotten me just those few steps closer to my goal of becoming a polyglot. Additionally, my study of linguistics on a global scale as well as my trip abroad to Brazil has opened me up to new ways of thinking, new issues to pay attention to, new lifelong friends and a newfound confidence in myself not just as a human being, but as an instrument of change. I have discovered that I want to work in the sphere of language access, hopefully one day being a professional translator and interpreter. In this department I have built a good foundation of knowledge to help me pursue that path. Alongside my studies I work as an intern at Texan Translation, getting firsthand experience at what professional translating and interpreting looks like. Language learning is my main passion but I also love hanging out with my cat, lifting weights and exercising, traveling to new places, and eating good food with friends in Austin.

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