EMU Student Profiles
Graduate falls in love with the beauty of Spain
Ariel Robinson will teach at a school in Madrid and plans to travel and participate in activities around the country
A light dusting of flour covers Ariel Robinson as she gently presses a rolling pin into a ball of tortilla dough. She is a toddler. At the kitchen table, she stands next to her grandmother and looks intently as her grandmother makes each ball of dough into a perfect circle with gentle maneuvers: forward and backward, side to side and repeat.
Spending time with her grandmother and listening to her speak Spanish connected Robinson to her heritage and later influenced what she wanted to study in college. Robinson, now 23, graduated from Eastern Michigan University in April 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish K-12 and will teach English to elementary students in Spain.
“I decided to become a foreign language teacher because language is what unites people and it’s the driving force in human life,” Robinson says. “If you cannot communicate with someone you cannot negotiate, aid, understand, or develop a relationship with others.”
Robinson will teach at a school in Madrid and has already planned to travel and participate in activities around the country including Tomatina, a huge tomato throwing fight and traveling South to visit the palace made for kings, Alcazar.
“Also, since I will be overseas already I want to travel to some countries in Europe and Africa that I have not seen before,” Robinson says. “I would love to visit Morocco at least once in my life.”
As a little girl, Robinson would sit on her couch and watch the Travel Channel with wide eyes, hoping that one day she would be able to travel to the crystal clear waters of tropical islands, the hectic and technicolor countries of Asia, but most importantly, the rustic and historical country of Spain. In the summer of 2013, she visited the country for the first time.
“I studied abroad in Avila, Spain for six weeks and it made me grow as a Spanish speaker,” Robinson says. “I felt more confident in my ability to speak Spanish and I felt a strong pull towards their unique and incredible culture.”
While there, Robinson studied at the University of Salamanca and was able to learn traditional Spanish dances like the Sevillanas, more about the Spanish culture and was able to reinforce her grammar. It was outside the classroom, however, where she learned the most.
“I was constantly flooded with the language when I was out in the city,” Robinson says “After that experience, I decided that I wanted to come back to Spain in the future because I fell in love with the beauty and simplicity of the country.”
Moving to a different country fills Robinson with complete excitement, but with some apprehension as well. The cost of living is expensive in Europe, so she will work throughout the summer to save for her plane ticket and additional costs when she first arrives. While she is also nervous about cultural barriers and emergency situations, she is looking forward to learning more about herself.
“I hope that after this experience I will become a better teacher and overall person,” Robinson says. “I want to become more compassionate towards others and grow as an individual.”
As Robinson prepares for Spain this summer, she knows it will all be worth it once she starts to pack her suitcases in August. School was her safe haven while growing up, and now her safe haven will be in her favorite country while doing what she loves.
“I want to inspire others to learn and better their lives,” Robinson says. “I truly believe that an education can open doors.”
by Quinn Alexander