Meet Sebastian Cardenas

Student Spotlight Sebastian Cardenas
Mon, 04/24/2023 - 11:57

Majors: Global Studies, History, and Spanish

Year in school: Senior

Hometown: Omaha, NE

Favorite book and why?
My favorite book is Sweet Promised Land by Robert Laxalt. I like it because it describes the lives of migrants from the Basque Country between Spain and France. The Basque like many Europeans came in large numbers to the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. Once they arrived here, a large amount of them settled in the American West and took jobs as Sheepherders. The book itself tells the story of the Author’s father who came from the French Basque Country and is returning to his homeland for the first time in fifty years.

Favorite movie and why?
My favorite movie is 1898, Los últimos de Filipinas. The film follows the events of the siege of Baler during the Philippine Revolution, where Spanish soldiers defended the town of Baler for almost an entire year after Spain had lost the Philippines to the United States. This film is my favorite because it explains in great detail the story of a lesser-known historical event and how the situation played out on both sides of the conflict. It shows how the Filipino revolutionaries were determined to gain their independence from Spain and end the centuries long oppression of their people. At the same time the film shows the plight of the Spanish soldiers who were so obsessed with defending this small town even after their country had lost the colony and abandoned them.

Why Global Studies?
At UNL, I have decided to study Global Studies, History, and Spanish. I chose these majors for a variety of specific reasons. The first major I initially decided on prior to attending UNL was History. I chose History because it is something that I have always had an interest in, and I wanted to expand and develop my knowledge of it more when I began attending the University. The second major I chose was Global Studies. I chose Global Studies after being introduced to it by my History Advisor who thought it would be a good major to pair along with my History Major. After looking it over and learning how it would cover a variety of different subjects and themes that interested me like different cultures and international affairs, I decided it would be a good fit for me. Finally, I chose to study Spanish because learning a second language has always been important to me. I come from a family with several Spanish speakers, and I wanted to also be able to speak it. I also found learning Spanish to be useful to my academic and future goals. It is beneficial to my academic career, because it ties in with my Global Studies and History majors, where I have put a focus on the study of Latin America and Spain where Spanish is the dominant language. As for long term reasons, I wanted to take Spanish because we are living in a time, where knowing a second language is very important as places such as the United States become even more diverse as many migrants from different parts of the world begin to make their way here. I find it extremely important to know how to communicate with these people as it may open doors to other opportunities and ways to develop professionally.

Throughout my time at UNL, I have taken a vast array of classes with some covering very interesting topics. Within History, an interesting class, that I took was HIST 272: Modern Latin America, which covered topics regarding the recent history of several Latin American countries. I found it interesting because the professor discussed in detail several major events that helped shape Latin America and how they affected the different peoples who inhabited those places. In Global Studies, GLST 201: Introduction to Global Studies, was a particularly impactful course for me. During this class, our professor engaged us to learn as much as we could about the world while also helping us develop ourselves early on in our college careers. We would take part in activities such as learning the entire map of the world, while also doing other things such as crafting a resume. For Spanish, SPAN 405: Exile and Migration was a very interesting course. It talked about several themes regarding the mass migration of people to Hispanic countries such as Spain and Mexico because of events such as war and people looking for better opportunities. It also discussed how many Spanish speaking groups have made their way outside of their home countries and migrated to places like the United States and Northern Europe for similar reasons. I think all of these courses would be beneficial to anyone looking to learn more about the world and gain a better understanding of the different peoples and traditions within it.

What are your extracurricular experiences?
While at UNL, I have been able to take part in several extracurricular activities that have proven beneficial to my overall university experience. One of the most impactful experiences I have participated in was studying abroad last year. I had always wanted to be able to study in another country and when the opportunity arose, I went for it. I studied in Granada Spain from January to May of last Spring. The program I took part in focused on the study of the Spanish language and was sponsored through the Center for Modern Languages at the Universidad de Granada. It was a beneficial experience as it allowed for me to improve my Spanish skills while also discovering a new country. Aside from what I learned in the classroom, I was also given the opportunity to live with a host family who helped me ease into living in Spain. It also helped me add onto my knowledge of Spanish and become more fluent in the language by speaking it regularly with my host parents and siblings. Another important experience I have taken part in while at UNL is teaching at Lincoln Literacy. This is a new experience for me as I just started it this semester, but it has already proven to be very beneficial. I am currently serving as an English tutor that meets regularly with a non-native English-speaking student to help better their knowledge of the English language. I find it to be very impactful because as a language learner myself I am able to teach someone my native language like so many professors have done for me. I also think it has allowed me to develop several important skills that will help me in the future. Some of these skills include being patient. When teaching a student, a second language, it is very easy to become impatient when your student is not understanding a concept, by doing this I have learned to be more open and look for new ways to help my student expand their knowledge and fully understand a concept. I believe it has also taught me how to be more organized by having me craft lesson plans and other materials to ensure my student learns as much as possible. I think both studying abroad and serving as an English tutor would be very beneficial to all majors as I believe it would help them develop further and give more structure to their future careers.

What are your post-graduation plans?
Currently, I am looking at returning to Spain to teach English upon graduating this spring. I have begun to apply to organizations that specialize in hiring native English speakers to serve as English Teachers, Teachers’ Assistants, and English Tutors to come to Spain and work in their primary and secondary schools. I am looking to do this, so that I can develop more professional skills while also building upon my current ones in order to open my doors to more opportunities in the future.