New spanish professor brings Colombia to CU

Claudia Orozco Martin

Fulfilling a desire to travel and teach, visiting Spanish professor Claudia Orozco Martin, from Colombia, came to Castleton University. Arriving mid August, she brought her perspective and Spanish skills to students here.

Q. What is your job title?
A. “My job title officially is a Spanish TA, but I’m not actually working as a TA cause I’m teaching my own classes. I’m teaching Spanish 1 and Spanish for health professionals.”

Q.How old are you and where are you living today?
A. “I’m 26. I live on campus, Haskell. It’s different, because when I went to college, I lived in my own house so I never had the experience of living on campus with other students so this is completely different to me.”

Q. What prompted you to come?
A. “Well… what I wanted to do was to have a different experience with teaching. In Colombia I was teaching English and then I decided that I needed to work on my English and wanted to have a different experience. I thought, well this is my opportunity to do something different.”

Q. What are some big changes and challenges for you being here?
A. “Many things – many things. It’s been different for me trying to adapt to the life in a small town like it is here because I lived in a very big city where lifestyle was crazier and busier. The weather is also different. I’m looking forward to winter, I guess it’s going to be very nice, but it’s also very different for me because I’ve never experienced winter or the snow. I don’t know how my body is going to react to it.”

Q. Do you have plans to go back to Colombia?
A. “I will be here till the end of the spring semester. After that I’m going back to Colombia. My program here lasts for a year so the idea is that I taught here for two semesters so spring semester will be my second so after that I am going back.”

Q. Can you tell me about your family? Do you have any siblings?
A. “I have two sisters, they are younger than me. They live in Columbia with my mother. My family is very big actually. On my mother’s side I have 12 aunts and uncles and about 42 cousins. So it’s big! My dad’s side of the family is a bit smaller. I have six aunts and uncles and seven cousins. My immediate family is my mother and two sisters.

Q. Will this be the first time spending the holidays without them?
A. “Yes. I feel you know – homesick. I knew that this was going to happen when I made the decision to come here. But yeah I’m going to miss my family and our Christmas traditions and the things that we used to do.”

Q. What did your family think of you coming here?
A. “They’ve always been very supportive with the decisions I’ve made. They were excited for me. They always say ‘follow your dreams,’ ‘do what you really want to do.’ They were excited, but at the same time feeling sad because they were not going to see me for a while – like this is the longest time we’ve ever been apart. But they are happy that I’m here because they knew that this is what I wanted to do.

Q. Have you seen the show Narcos?
A. “I haven’t.”

Q. Can you tell me about the reputation of the city Medellin?
A. “I’m not from Medellin, that’s where I was living before I came here. I was there for three years actually. It is a city that got that fame because of Pablo Escobar I know, I understand and that’s why people know it. But it’s also one of the biggest cities in the country. There has been a lot of investment in technology in science, in sports and arts and you can see that reflected on the way people live and the satisfaction people have with their city and the quality of life. Even though that’s its history, it has changed a lot and now it’s a completely different city from what you can see it reflected in shows like that.”

Q. What’s your favorite thing about Colombia?
A. “I love about Columbia the diversity. I love the culture, it’s just very rich and amazing. I was raised in two very different cities so I have a little bit of different cultures and I think that’s just awesome.”

Q. What foods do you miss the most?
A. “Everything – everything! It’s been very hard for me to find food here that I feel absolutely comfortable eating. There is something that I really really miss which is called arepas and that’s what we have for breakfast. If you look at it, it looks something like a tortilla.”

Q. Is traveling and teaching something you see yourself continuing for a while?
A. “I do want to continue doing that, that is actually my dream. Travel around the world, learn new languages and from new cultures and teach what I have learned. I hope I will be able to do that. Right now I can’t think of anything else I want to do rather than getting my masters degree.”

Q. How many languages do you know?
A. “Four. Spanish, English, French and Italian. I studied them in university. I have a B.A. in modern language.

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