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December 2021 - Amanda Matlin

An extremely dedicated student, Amanda began her studies at Tierra back in 2017 in the Beginner 2 level, and over the years has built up her Spanish skills to reach an advanced level of fluidity. Initially motivated to expand her Spanish skills by volunteer work she did building houses in El Salvador, her passion for providing all with safe shelter motivated her to find work at a local non-profit providing vital services to houseless people in Portland. She applies her blossoming Spanish skills when interacting with Spanish-speakers in her work and volunteer projects and is a wonderful example of someone who’s chosen to dedicate her talents to improving the lives of others. In Spanish class she’s a kind and encouraging classmate who always participates actively in class and makes her Spanish studies an important priority in her life. We are honored to count Amanda as part of our community at Tierra and look forward to continuing to witness her impressive progress in Spanish and inspiring work in our wider community.

Name: Amanda Matlin
Occupation:  I am the Fiscal Manager for a small non-profit organization with on a focus on providing alternative sheltering, employment services, mobile hygiene and health services, and other wrap around services and outreach for houseless people living in East Portland.
Time Studying at Tierra:  Nearly 5 years

1) Why are you studying Spanish? 

"I started studying Spanish after a trip with Habitat for Humanity to El Salvador to build a house.  I was taken by the communities there and I knew I wanted to come back with more language skills, which I did several times.  I  work with Spanish speaking people and have Spanish speaking neighbors and I want to be able to effectively communicate with everyone.  Learning Spanish has also been good for my brain and it has expanded what I read, what I watch on TV, and the podcasts that I listen to."

2) What is your favorite part about your experience here at Tierra? 

"My favorite part of my experience at Tierra has been learning about my classmates and instructors.  There are lots of interesting people in the world doing amazing things and my time at Tierra has allowed me to learn about them through course material and also to meet them firsthand.  And it's fun to see everyone's Spanish improving."

3) Can you tell us of a time you have been able to use what you have learned studying here? 

"I led a team of US volunteers on a build trip to El Salvador in 2019.  I was able to use my Spanish to learn about the family whose house we were building, to communicate with the masons and other staff on site, and to meet many of the neighbors.  I also gave my team speech at the end of the week in Spanish."

¡Felicidades Amanda!