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March 2024 - Zeenia Junkeer

Three years ago at the height of the pandemic, Zeenia started her Spanish learning journey at Tierra in a Beginner 3 course. Since then, she’s been wholly dedicated to her studies and her skills have truly blossomed, having become a high intermediate student and even travelled abroad for immersion study experiences. A naturopathic doctor whose passion for helping to make healthcare equitable and accessible to all has brought her to the non-profit world, Zeenia’s interest in gaining a deep understanding of other cultures and perspectives informs her approach to language acquisition. Zeenia has an authentically positive attitude and is a supportive, empathetic classmate; she brings laughter and joy, along with poignant questions, to any class she joins. We are honored to have Zeenia as part of our amazing student community at Tierra and can’t wait to continue to see her soar in her quest for fluency.


Name: Zeenia Junkeer
Occupation: Naturopathic Physician, Non-profit Executive Director at Mount Baker Foundation
Time Studying at Tierra: 3 years

(*Zeenia’s original answers to these questions are below in Spanish, and translated to English)

1) Why are you studying Spanish?

Es muy importante para mí comunicar bien con personas en mi comunidad y pienso que las personas deben ser capaces de comunicarse con personas que hablan otros idiomas además de ingles. Me gusta mucho el idioma español por que las palabras son ricas y el idioma es hermoso. Espero usar el idioma cuando viajo más en México y cuando tengo la oportunidad para visitar otros países en Centro y Sudamérica.

"It’s very important to me to communicate effectively with people in my community and I think all people should capable of communicating with people who speak languages other than English. I love learning Spanish because the words are so meaningful, the language is beautiful. I hope to use the language more when I travel in Mexico and when I have the opportunity to visit other countries in Central and South America".

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

Me gustan las clases y conocer a otros estudiantes que están aprendiendo el idioma, y todas las maestras son amables, inteligentes, y personas que respetan la cultura de el idioma y a las personas hispanohablantes. Disfruto aprender más de la cultura de todos los países y personas en el mundo que usan este idioma. Las actividades en mis clases me ayudan a aprender más por que son actividades diferentes, nuevas, y divertidos. 

"I like the classes and meeting other students who are learning the language. And all of the teachers are kind and intelligent, they are people who respect the culture of the language and Spanish-speaking people. I enjoy leaning more about the cultures of the many different countries and people in the world who use this language. The activities in my classes help me to learn because they are different, new, and fun activities".

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

¡Me encanta viajar! Cuando estaba en México, Costa Rica, y Panamá  el año pasado, usaba mi español mucho! Aquí en Bellingham puedo hablar con personas en mi comunidad, ordeno comida en los restaurantes, ayudo a personas que necesitan direcciones, o simplemente comunicarme con personas en su lengua materna. He estado trabajando en usar mi español y no sentirme avergonzada, aunque no sea perfecto.

"I love to travel! When I was in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama last year I used my Spanish skills a lot!  Here in Bellingham, WA, I can talk with people in my community, order food in restaurants, help people who need directions, or simply communicate with people in their native language. I have been working on using my Spanish skills and not feeling embarrassed, even if it’s not perfect".

¡Felicidades Zeenia!