Rey discusses change for language dept.

Jill Fier

Jill Fier

In January, SDSU began its 100th year of teaching modern languages with a brand new head of the Department of Modern Languages, Dr. Arsenio Rey. Rey, who came from the University of Alaska in Anchorage, said he wants to make positive changes at SDSU in the teaching of modern languages.

“I decided to come to SDSU to make a mark in the teaching of modern languages and literature. The administration wants to give the students global competence, and in order to have that they need languages,” he said.

German professor Carl Sunde said that Rey has been a welcomed addition to the department.

“We have the best modern language department in the state and he recognizes that. Changes should help the department, not hurt it,” Sunde said.

“We are delighted to have him here and the staff stands behind him and the changes he’s made.”

The department is also in the process of hiring new staff to replace retiring faculty.

Although Rey said he does not have any specific changes in mind for the department at this time, he knows he wants to use technology to help foreign languages become “a natural means of expression for students.”

Rey said students need to open their minds to other cultures in order to have successful lives.

“The world is out there and the world speaks different languages in the professional culture besides English.”

“If we concentrate on our English culture only, we are going to isolate ourselves. We have to break the borders,” he said.

“Americans have a lot to offer. They have to come out and speak the languages that other people speak and take advantages of those cultures.”

Traveling abroad is not a requirement for modern language majors, but Rey said it is highly recommended, especially for those who want to teach languages in the future.

He also said that expense of travelling abroad makes hard for everyone to get there.

“Since not all students can go abroad, we bring the world to the students.”

Rey also added that speaking a second language would greatly improve the career opportunities that any graduating students encounter.

“You don’t always end up with the job you have been prepared for. A modern language would open up a wide range of possibilities. You have to convince people of that. And once the people want it, then the administration will find the budget for it. One thing brings the other.”

Rey said he recognizes that not everyone sees the advantages of knowing a second language and it is not his goal to force every student to learn one if they do not see the opportunities that come with it.

“Put it at the level of English, make it a second language and make it available to every student. I don’t want to make it a requirement for every student because I do not want to force it on someone who has a rejection for it,” he said.