News & Stories
Kate Gray
May 17, 2023

Exploring majors leads to love for languages and career in translation

Kate Gray ’23 works as a paralegal in family law in Atlanta, applying critical thinking and communication skills and translating for clients as needed. She says entering Berry undecided worked to her advantage, as she looked around before majoring in Spanish and minoring in French and religion. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she says. “I think entering undecided lets you explore ideas and figure out what it is you love to do. There’s a difference between doing something you’re capable of and doing something that you love.” 

Once Kate took Spanish, she found her passion. Moreover, she had a gift. “In the more than two decades of my teaching career, I have never known a student to make such gains in language acquisition in so little time,” says Julee Tate, professor of Spanish and mentor. “Once Kate fell in love with Spanish, she was all in, and now she is uniquely equipped to help others learn languages.”  

On-campus work positions built her skill set and confidence. “Starting my second semester at Berry, I was a teaching assistant or tutor in the Academic Success Center. That adds up to seven semesters of teaching in multiple departments across campus,” Kate explains.

Studying abroad in Spain strengthened fluency. “The biggest part of my experience — and this is something that speaks to Berry’s intentionality with the programs they choose — was getting to live with a host family. You’re not shoved in a dorm with a bunch of American students speaking English after you go home from classes. The most crucial part of my experience was staying with a Spanish family for actual immersion.” 

Kate has embraced cultural immersion in other parts of the world, accumulating 300+ hours as a volunteer caring for and teaching children on four continents. So far, she has served in Zimbabwe, Costa Rica, Peru, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Poland and traveled in the UK, France and Italy.

Whether you’re looking to get involved in a foreign language or still searching for your own path, Kate emphasizes that it’s okay not to rush to a decision about a major or career: “It doesn’t have to be Spanish; it doesn’t have to be French; it doesn’t have to be science. It can be a variety of things or one really cool thing. Give yourself a chance to figure it out.” 

More than half of Berry students change their major before graduating. The beauty of a Berry education is being challenged to check out several areas of study and career possibilities while graduating on time.

Photo credit Alex Ruble

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