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November-December 2010 - Ken Southerland

Ken Southerland

Ken is a super star student for bountiful reasons. First and foremost, he is doggedly committed to learning Spanish: his consistency, dedication, and cache of flashcards have born much fruit in his speedy acquisition of the language. A fine representative of Portland bike culture, Ken shows up for class no matter what part of town he's coming from and in spite of rain, wind, cold, and anxious rush-hour drivers. With his quick wit and sociable nature, he brings humor, intellect, and zest to the classroom, reminding us all to stretch our limits of expression in our second language.

Name: Ken Southerland
Occupation: Computer Programmer
Time Studying at Tierra: 1 1/2 years

1) Why are you studying Spanish?
"I am studying Spanish because I always should have. Language skills make traveling not only easier, but far more enjoyable. Instead of spending your time in the nightclubs talking to Australians, you can be in the corner bar conversing with the locals, finding out about the best place to get street food and networking for cheap homestays. Plus we have so many native Spanish speakers in this country, it's nice to meet them halfway."

2) What is your favorite part about your experience here at Tierra?
"At Tierra I always have a good time, the teachers and students all have great senses of humor, while still giving you very serious lessons. So I'm learning and having fun at the same time, and I've learned so fast thanks to their help."

3) Can you tell us of a time you have been able to use what you have learned studying here?
"I use my Spanish all the time as Mexican food is one of my favorites and there are so many good Mexican food carts operated by native speakers. My last trip to Mexico in January was my favorite trip ever because it was the first time I had a decent grasp of the language and was able to not only conduct business but converse with the people. I look forward to another trip this winter, possibly Argentina or Spain."

Congratulations Ken!!