Vittoria Fanelli

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Peer Mentor
Vittoria Fanelli
2011
Honours BA Double Major in Law & Society and Spanish

What Spanish at York was like for Vittoria
"I chose Spanish because I thought it would be interesting to learn how to write the language and become a more fluent speaker but I learned so much more! I was able to pick the courses that I wanted to take whether in language or literature. I learned about the Golden Age, the Spanish Civil War, and about the Mayans. There is so much to learn in this major and I feel that the courses are all connected because what you learn in one will definitely help you in another. Your understanding of Spanish and Hispanic history and culture will deepen and grow as you go through the years. Also, because of the smaller class sizes, you will get to know your professors and fellow classmates on a personal level. I will miss my years in undergrad and I am very happy that I decided to double major in Spanish."
Spanish at Work!
Vittoria worked throughout her undergraduate degree and continues to do so at a local racetrack. There is a high percentage of Spanish-speaking patrons that visit the track who are new to betting and need assistance; she does her best to translate and assist them in Spanish. "At first I found this difficult because of the many variations of Spanish. However, in one course that I took at York, we were asked to go to the Sound and Moving Library in Scott Library to view different Spanish films. I had never viewed Spanish films before and the actors' accents were new to me. Learning about them helped me to better communicate with Spanish-speaking individuals and increased my confidence overall."
Travel after York
Vittoria had always planned to travel as soon as she graduated. One of her first trips was to Cuba, a country about which she had learned a lot in her language classes. During her visit, she was able to communicate with locals. While others in her group felt dependent on the travel agent for their cultural encounters, Vittoria drew on the knowledge and confidence she acquired during her studies at York in Spanish to engage more fully with the Cubans that she met:
"One of the great aspects about my Spanish classes was how class discussions could break out from something we learned in the course materials. Such discussions are an important aspect in learning a language fluently and being able to confidently engage in conversations." Next, Vittoria plans to visit Spain, the birthplace of her favourite author, Miguel de Cervantes, writer of Don Quijote de La Mancha. "I would love to perhaps collect old copies of books that I have read while at York and a few new ones to take home with me. Something I never would of expected was to fall in love with each book I read in my Spanish classes."
Future Studies & Community Work
After graduating from York University, Vittoria began preparing for the LSATs. She plans to apply for law school and is interested in practicing immigration law. Her degree in Spanish is especially relevant to her future career because she wants to work with members of Canada's Hispanic communities as they help their families immigrate. In the meantime, Vittoria hopes to start a charitable foundation for high school students in underprivileged areas to combat some of the financial burdens that prevent them from pursuing post-secondary education. "I hope that through sponsorship, community support and hard work, I'll achieve this goal and change a few lives for the better." We'll keep you posted on how Vittoria's exciting endeavours take shape!l

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