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EIU Department of
World Languages and Cultures

A Major in World Languages—Your Ticket to Working in a Global Economy


Heather Vaupel (BA in World Languages & Cultures, 2019) 

Study Abroad Advisor; William V. Weber Program in Study Abroad at EIU. 

Heather1I graduated from EIU in 2019 with my B.A. in Spanish, and minors in Latin American Studies and Political Science. During my time as undergrad, I enjoyed many opportunities to practice my Spanish. I worked as a tutor, helping students from beginning and intermediate Spanish language courses. Participating in “Amigos and Friends” at the Newman Catholic Center I had the privilege of teaching English to Spanish speakers in the community. Since I love learning languages I also took courses in French and German. In my Junior year, I knew it was time to venture outside my comfort zone and study abroad!  For me, the perfect way to get started was participating in the Department’s faculty-led “Spring Break in Guatemala” program. This was a great experience and motivated me to study abroad for a longer period. The following summer I studied at Veritas University in Costa Rica. Immersing myself in Spanish not only improved my Spanish proficiency but also my intercultural competence and cross-cultural communication skills. After graduating, I pursued my M.A. in Political Science at EIU. It was during that time that I found my research focus—Study Abroad. In my thesis "Why Underprivileged Students Do Not Intend to Study Abroad" I researched reasons why not more students are studying abroad and the obstacles they may face when considering to study abroad. Graduating in 2022, I was ready for the job I love: Study Abroad Advisor at EIU. I love telling students about my studies and experiences and how both led me to where I am today. I can relate to our students, their interests, questions, worries, and also their excitement. It is rewarding to give them the tools to study abroad through EIU.


Emily Kovacik (BA in World Languages, 2015)

International Project Manager

The opportunities that are available with a World Language degree are limitless and they can open up a whole new world.

Emily Kovacik

My language of concentration was Spanish, but I also studied 2 years of French and Mandarin Chinese. I minored in Latin American Studies. When I was in school and I would tell someone my major, they would automatically jump to the conclusion that I was going to be a teacher. However, I always knew that I wasn’t one of those people who are meant to teach. I never felt a calling to it. My calling was to travel. I wanted to see any and every part of the world that I could, and I wanted to be able to help people along the way. I also wanted to make a good living while doing so.

Emily Kovacik 

My degree in World Languages was my ticket to do all of those things. I am currently employed as an International Project Manager by Yargus Manufacturing, based out of Marshall, IL. Yargus is a global leader in the fertilizer equipment and material handling industry. To explain it in a very general sense, we make equipment for the blending of fertilizer. We have sold systems throughout North America, Latin America, Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia. As a Project Manager I get to visit these countries for conferences and to attend site visits. Even when I’m not traveling, every day I speak to and meet new people from all over the world, while using the language skills I learned at EIU. Not only do I get to fulfill my dreams of seeing the world, I am lucky enough to be employed by a company that is working to help feed people where food is scarce. We work with several non-profit companies to bring food to people who never take a meal for granted. Emily Kovacik


A few weeks ago I was in Nigeria for a forum on fertilizer. I actually got to sit and have a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria. I get to use my Spanish and French almost every single day! My next trip will be Australia, and then I’m hoping to go to South America for a few site visits.


I am so completely fulfilled and challenged by my job every single day. I have my professors and my studies at EIU to thank for that. I strongly suggest that if you are thinking about studying World languages to try and branch out, and see where they can take you in life. The opportunities that are available with a World language degree are limitless and they can open up a whole new world.

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Department of World Languages & Cultures

Coleman Hall, First Floor
Fax: 217-581-3113

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