The Modern Linguist
Faculty Spotlight

Eye on Alumni
A View from Abroad

Faculty Spotlight

Steve Egland, Adjunct Professor of Swahili

I look back on this first year teaching Swahili at Whitworth with fondness. The eager participation of the students and challenging support from my colleagues has made this a wonderful experience.

I was invited to teach at Whitworth primarily due to the university’s support for its students studying abroad in Tanzania. I lived and worked for 10 years in the north central region of Tanzania, East Africa, as a missionary pastor with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania. I lived south of Arusha, with views out my picture window of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru. While serving the church I also assisted with various projects, such as water development, cooking-oil production, sustainable farming, primary healthcare and Theological Education by Extension.

I often talk to my students of having learned Swahili on the streets of Arusha, Tanzania. My teachers were those in the markets, on the streets, in the coffee shops, on the farms; basically anyone and everyone regardless of their level of education willing to give a little bit of their time to a stranger in their midst. Nearly two years later I attended formalized language training, but only after developing a love for learning the language of the people with whom I lived.

Swahili is a language spoken throughout much of East Africa. With Tanzania comprising over 120 ethnic groups, the country has promoted Swahili as its national language. The use of Swahili in Kenya, Uganda, the Comoro Islands and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is extensive, touching the lives of many of its neighboring countries, such as Mozambique and Somalia. In all, more than 60 million people are able to communicate using Swahili. 

What makes speaking Swahili somewhat challenging, beyond mere book-learning, is the fact that more than 25 dialects of Swahili exist. This makes the classroom dynamic fun and exciting, especially when there are students from different parts of East Africa contributing to our language learning. Currently there are students from Whitworth living and learning in Tanzania, from Zanzibar to Arusha, and I look forward to their participation in this “language exchange” as they return and share their insights into this dynamic and evolving language.

For students interested in participating in this cross-cultural exchange with Tanzania, I encourage you to take up Swahili. Here is an opportunity to make the most of your experience by preparing yourselves before you go. This is also a great opportunity for many who simply want a different experience learning a bit about the language and culture of a people halfway around the world, in the Southern Hemisphere.  Whitworth’s one-year language requirement for all of its students is a testimony to this university’s commitment to diversity and to worldwide engagement.

I look forward to serving Whitworth in this capacity as long as there is a need and Whitworth feels I am the person to fulfill this role. I thank the entire Whitworth community, its students, professors and staff, for their support in making the most of Swahili taught here on campus.

Eye on Alumni

Jane Muir, ’11, Spanish and Art Double Major

Last May, I arrived at the graduation breakfast for the Whitworth Modern Languages Department with no concrete plans for the future. So when Lindy Scott told me about a master of arts degree program at Baylor University, I naturally took interest; but the program started in August, and time was running out. Knowing nothing about Baylor except as the place where [Whitworth president and his wife] Beck and Julie Taylor met, I began the concurrent process of learning about the program and applying to it.

After being accepted and before arriving in Waco, Texas, I knew that Baylor’s M.A. in Spanish was a small program that offered generous financial aid. What I discovered upon arrival was an academic and Christian community in which my Spanish has been stretched, my literary knowledge increased, and my ability to teach language to others magnified. I’ve spent this year making friends, attending classes, helping at an ESL program, leading tutoring and conversation hours in Spanish, and turning out essays regularly. (Note to graduating seniors: there’s still space if you’d like to join me in the fall!)

This spring, I also presented as part of a panel about Christianity in the ESL classroom at the annual conference for the North American Christian Foreign Language Association (NACFLA).

As for the future, Baylor is preparing me both for teaching lower-division Spanish courses at a university and for pursuing further education in the field. I haven’t decided which direction I’ll head after graduating next May, and I’m thankful for the time I have to continue studying and growing before yet again facing that decision.

A View from Abroad

Kyla Dill is in Managua, Nicaragua, with ISEP for spring semester 2012. She is staying with a host family while studying at the Universidad Americana de Managua.

Following is an excerpt from Kyla’s blog entry on Friday, March 30, 2012:

This past Tuesday marked my first full month that I’ve been here. I can’t believe it! In the past four weeks I have:

  • eaten lots of gallo pinto
  • traveled to San Juan del Sur
  • visited two volcanoes (Masaya and Mombacho)
  • spent a couple days with my grandpa in Nandaime
  • learned fun, new vocabulary words: Googlear = to Google, and policía acostado = speed bump    (literally “lying down policeman”)
  • learned a new meaning of “personal space” traveling by bus
  • played lots of Go Fish and War with my host-brother
  • been really hot
  • gone to school

While friends and I were sitting on the beach, an 11-year-old boy named Kevin that Tricia and Caitlin had befriended the day before came up to us, and we ended up hanging out with him for the rest of the night. He lives on the streets and makes things like roses, grasshoppers, hearts, and other cool things out of palm leaves and sells them to make money. He was a really sweet, smart, kind kid and it was a lot of fun to hang out with him. There was a big concert on the beach that we all went to, and he impressed us all with his dancing skills. We were able to kind of take care of him for that day – buy him food, get him some new slippers (aka flip-flops, for everyone not from Hawaii), find a good place for him to sleep – but the next day we said “adios” and he was on his own again. I’m glad we were able to help him out in that small way, but it was hard to just say good-bye and walk away, knowing that he was going back to the streets. I pray that he comes to know the amazing love that God has for him and is able to go to school and develop all the potential that he has. The next day we had a smooth trip back to Managua. It was weird to feel like I was coming “home” as we drew near the city, especially since I had only lived there for two weeks at the time.

I live in a really nice neighborhood where I have basically all the comforts of home (except for hot water, but it’s so hot here anyway, so it doesn’t even matter), and I attend a nice, private university here, but living in Managua, there is no way to avoid seeing the poverty in which so many people live. One thing that has been on my mind lately is the realization that the way I and most of the other people in the U.S. live is not normal. To the majority of the world, having all the things that we consider “normal” things to have – like hot water (let alone clean water), the guarantee of food for the day, indoor plumbing, the opportunity to receive an education of any sort, owning a vehicle, electricity, etc. – are not normal to most of the people in the world. It’s hard seeing some of the guys and girls my age here and thinking about how different our lives are in those regards.

God’s given me so much, and it’s not because I’ve done anything to deserve it. What He’s given me is a huge blessing for which I am so thankful, not nearly thankful enough – but it’s also a responsibility. As a Christian, saved by grace alone through the work of Jesus Christ, God has given me the two greatest commands in His Word, which are to love Him and to love others as I love myself. Loving others means so many things, including loving people practically (Matthew 25:33-40).

I hope that the impact of these experiences I’m having here doesn’t fade away when I go back home, back to “normal,” with poverty out of my sight. I pray that the impact stays with me and helps me to live and love as my Heavenly Father calls me to do.

If you would like to read more about Kyla’s journey and experiences while studying abroad in Nicaragua, visit her blog at

Thinking about or preparing to study abroad?
The Journal of the Washington Association for Language Teaching (WAFLT) recently published an essay from one of our students, Rebecca Cuniff ,’13, about the difficulties she experienced in completing the visa application and paperwork to study abroad. You can read the essay here.

Announcements and Upcoming Events

Class of 2012: Mark Your Calendars for the Modern Languages Senior Breakfast

This annual event is on Saturday, May 12, from 9:30-11 a.m., in Seeley Mudd Chapel. This event is for you and your family to enjoy on graduation weekend. Please see Stacey for announcements to send home. The deadline to R.S.V.P. is Friday, May 4, with payment due May 11.

Spanish Tutoring (New Hours)
All levels - FREE

Available five nights a week during spring semester, through finals week. Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational abilities.
Sunday-Thursday, from 7-9 p.m., in the library, second floor, Room 208 (across from the Whitworth Writing Center). Sign-ups are available and encouraged. Additional hours will be offered during finals week.

French Tutoring
All levels – FREE

Every Sunday and Tuesday, through finals week, from 8-9 p.m. in Westminster Hall, Room 142. Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational abilities. Sign-ups are available and encouraged.

Costa Rica Center: “Have your own adventure”

Whitworth’s Costa Rica campus offers classes and internships for all students/all majors!

Costa Rica Summer Program 2012

Apply online at:
(Click on the “Application for Costa Rica Center Summer Session” link.)

View informational poster here

Session A: June 9-July 16

  • SN 101 Beginning Spanish I
  • SN 201 Intermediate Spanish I
  • SN 301 Advanced Spanish Grammar through Literature
  • SN 419 Latin American Culture and Civilization
  • EDU 519 Latin American Culture and Civilization (in Spanish - 3 credits). This course runs June 18-July 6; students may come earlier and enjoy a daily field trip June 11-15.

Break: July 7-15

During the break, students can travel in Costa Rica/Central America on their own; can be involved in the Congreso Latinoamericano de Evangelizacion V as volunteers or participants; do an intensive internship; etc.

Session B: July 16-Aug. 10

  • SN 102 Beginning Spanish II
  • SN 202 Intermediate Spanish II
  • SN 302 Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition through Literature
  • SN 434 Latin American Women Writers
  • EDU 534 Latin American Women Writers (in Spanish – 3 credits). This course runs July 16-Aug. 3; students may stay later and enjoy daily field trips Aug. 6-10.

Fall 2012 and spring 2013 enrollment for the Costa Rica Center is still open. Applications for any semester are available online at the Costa Rica Center website.

  • Classes are taught in English and Spanish – take general education classes in an exotic locale. Fall 2012 special course offerings will be in political science, economics and English.
  • Get to know the people and culture by staying in a local home.
  • Explore the Caribbean, Pacific Coast, and either Nicaragua or Cuba (the Cuba option is only available in fall 2012; additional charge required).
  • Your cost? The same as tuition, room and board at Whitworth + use your scholarships & financial aid (the Cuba trip requires a $400 surcharge to cover the additional cost of airfare and other expenses).

Questions? Please contact Kim Hernández, faculty liaison, at, or Olivia Godt, program TA, at

DELE Exam 

The Spanish program at Whitworth invites students to take the DELE (Diploma de Español como Lengua Extrangera). The DELE is an exam provided by the Spanish Ministry of Education in conjunction with the various Instituto Cervantes centers in the United States. The exam is only offered two times a year at Whitworth: Friday, May 25, 2012 (after graduation), and a date yet to be determined in November 2012. Applications for the May 25 exam were due by Wednesday April 18.

If you are a 400-level student and have studied abroad, we recommend you take the C1 this November. If you are interested and need help with registration, please contact Associate Professor of Spanish Angeles Aller in Westminster Hall, x4205.

There are online resources available to help you prepare for the DELE, as well as a level-check test. Following are some helpful websites:


Vol. 13 Issue 1 May 2012

The Modern Linguist was birthed from the desire to unite those who study in the modern languages discipline at Whitworth University. The newsletter features information, news and stories applicable to those involved in the program. Let it serve you well.

Modern Languages Department
Westminster Hall
Whitworth University
Phone: 509.777.4765
Department Chair and Editor-in-Chief: Bendi Benson Schrambach
Editor: Stacey Moo
For student employment information, please contact Stacey Moo, program assistant, at 509.777.4765

Scripture of the Month

English: Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Spanish: Filipenses 4:13 Todo lo puedo en Cristo Jesús quien me fortalece.

German: Philipper 4.13 Ich vermag alles durch den, der mich mächtig macht, Christus.

French: Philippiens 4 :13 Je puis toutes choses en Christ qui me fortifie.

Japanese: フィリピの信徒への手紙 4章 13節 わたしを強めてくださる方のお陰で、わたしにはすべてが可能です。

Chinese: 腓立比书 4.13  我靠着他那加给我的力量,凡事都能做。