A Look into the Journey of a Bilingual SLP Grad Student

After moving from Puerto Rico to Ridgewood, Queens in New York City at the age of 10, Angelica Gonzalez is an ambitious student clinician studying to become a speech language pathologist, with a great career on the horizon.

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1.  It seems like, having known you a year, that you work nonstop. What does a typical day look like for you while in your last year of grad school?

“On the weekdays, I wake up at 5 a.m. in order to prepare for my two externships which both start at 8 a.m. and occur on alternating days.  After finishing a work day at an externship, I work full-time at a not-for-profit called Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) as both a Bilingual Medicaid Service Coordinator (MSC) and MSC Documentation Specialist.  In order to make up my full-time hours at work, I also work on the weekends.  In other words, I have been working practically every single day during graduate school.  Most of my study hours are on weekends and typically occur late in the evening.  I am dependent on this routine, so that I can pay for basic necessities (rent, groceries) while in school.”

2.  Describe your educational background in Puerto Rico and the United States.  Did you speak English in Puerto Rico?  When you first arrived here, did you have any difficulty in an academic environment when working in the English language?

“Fortunately, I was raised from birth as a simultaneous bilingual.  That is to say, we spoke Spanish and English interchangeably at home.  In Puerto Rico, I was in a private school where all of my classes and textbooks were in English except for Spanish class.  Most of my teachers in elementary school had a Spanish accent when speaking in English which in turn influenced my pronunciation of words in English.  The education system in P.R. […]

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