North Carolinian Collin Savage graduated in 2016 with a French major and Spanish minor, and a vision of helping others all across the globe.
North Carolinian Collin Savage ’16 always imagined himself joining the military, like so many others in his family. In the end, his love of language led him to pursue a college education majoring in French with a minor in Spanish. It’s been far from easy for the native English speaker, who previously had only studied French through online courses, and had never spoken Spanish.
“I barely understood anyone else, and not a single person could understand me,” he said. “Now, however, I have entire conversations in both languages, and it’s amazing.”
He credits his professors and fellow students with helping him through the rigorous course work. He’s even been inducted into the National French Honor Society and is planning on joining the National Spanish Honor Society this year.
But French and Spanish aren’t the only languages he’s studied—he also has some background in Arabic, Portuguese, Italian, Russian and German. Why so many? It’s all part of Savage’s plan to eventually work for the United Nations. Being fluent in French and having experience in multiple languages are undeniable assets for this goal. Beyond that, he wants to communicate with people in the United States and elsewhere who do not speak English as a primary language.
“Growing up speaking English, I can go to nearly any major city in the world and just expect that at least one person will understand me. I want others to feel that same way,” he said.
Savage has even been able to put his skills into practice while helping those around him through his involvement in the Levermore Global Scholars (LGS) program. The group offered students the opportunity to get involved in a program teaching English to day laborers in Freeport, New York. The Freeport Trailer provides workers with connections to jobs, a place to stay dry and warm while waiting for work, and food and camaraderie.
He’s also worked at the UN Many Languages One World Conference, in which university students submit essays in one of the UN’s six official languages (but not in the entrants’ native languages) on the goals of the United Nations. The winners are flown to New York and stay on Adelphi’s campus for a week.
“The conversations jumped from one language to the next without ever skipping a beat, and most of the people present spoke a minimum of three languages,” he said. “It is honestly one giant family, and I am incredibly honored and proud to be a part of it and plan to work there every year that I can.”
As for the future, Savage has far-reaching plans that involve traveling the world and pursuing graduate degrees in non-English speaking countries.
“I’ve applied to teach English in the Peace Corps, teach English with a Fulbright, and I’ve applied to teach English in France,” he said. “I want to work in an international environment promoting human rights and sustainable development.”
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