Getting to Know U: Sam

By Melissa Rayner

Well, it’s that time again. Time to meet another inspiring Gale U resident as part of the weekly Getting to Know U blog series. If you haven’t yet taken the time to swing by campus, go take a look at

Today, we’re going to peek into the life of Sam, a Latin-American Studies student, who regularly hangs out at the Cultural Center. Being that he must master his course content in both English and Spanish, he definitely has a unique set of challenges.


As you walk across campus, you notice colorful lights strung up outside of a building you’ve just never noticed before. Curious, you step inside and are greeted by a crowd of students celebrating a holiday you haven’t heard of before. After helping yourself to a few delicious treats, you head upstairs to see what else this building has to offer.

The staircase leads to a loft-like space, where a lone student sits on the floor pouring over a mess of hand-written notes. You apologize and turn to head back downstairs, but he stops you.

“Wait. I could use a break. My name’s Sam.”

He stands, brushes his palms off on his pants and extends a hand in greeting.

“It probably seems weird that I’m up here, when everyone down there is having such a good time celebrating, doesn’t it? Well, I made a deal with myself. I have to finish my homework before I can go and have a good time. Man, I sound lame don’t I?”

You shrug, and Sam continues on, growing more and more frantic as he speaks.

“I never expected college to be this hard. I’m a Latin-American Studies major, mostly because I want to learn more about my own heritage. You see, I’m half Hispanic on my father’s side, but he wasn’t in the picture so I never learned about the culture growing up. I love that the Cultural Center has all these fun celebrations and events, but I have trouble learning about the culture and history through textbooks and journal articles alone. I probably sound so dumb to you, but I think I just have a different way of learning than other people. I’m now in third-year Spanish, and I’m supposed to do all these readings and write all these papers in Spanish, but it’s hard for me to write, I’d much rather speak–speaking is no problem at all. I’m kind of overwhelmed. I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish my homework before the party ends. Ugh. I’m so frustrated!” Sam hangs his head and kicks at the floor in frustration.

You have no idea how to respond. Should you pat his shoulder and tell him it will be okay? Should you try to get him down to the party, so he can take a break? Before you can make any definitive decisions, another student appears at the top of the staircase and approaches you and Sam.

“I’m sorry. I couldn’t help overhearing. I hope you don’t mind me coming over. I think I can help.”

Sam looks up, his expression hopeful. A smile stretches across his previously sullen face.

Cultural2. Sam-3-Optimized“You’re Sam, right? I think I sit behind you in Spanish class. Anyway, I used to have trouble too, but then I discovered Gale World Scholar. It’s multilingual and really easy to flip back and forth between Spanish and English. I finished writing my essay yesterday night, and it was way easier than I expected. The interface is convenient with lots of great tools and content, plus it has everything right there. It felt awesome to be able to complete my project without picking up my Spanish-English dictionary even once! If you go to the library website, you should be able to find it really easily.”

“Hey, thanks. You’re Suzie, right?”

“Yep, that’s me. Why don’t you come down and have some fun? It seems like you could use a break.”

“Sounds good to me!” Sam seems much happier now than when you first found him.

And, together, the two wave goodbye and head toward the lively festivities downstairs.

You decide to snag the abandoned study space for yourself, and–what the heck?–you might as well check out Gale World Scholar while you’re at it.

Thanks to this new discovery, Sam can study more effectively and spend more time doing the things he loves!

Sam will soon be a master of both English and Spanish by using Gale World Scholar:  Latin America and the Caribbean–but that’s not the only Gale resource that’s got his back. To see what they are, visit To learn more about Gale U, visit Next week, we’ll introduce Carol, the Library Director at our community college.



Melissa for Caricature (2)About the Author

Melissa is obsessed with books, birds, and bonbons. She is a new mom and holds an MA in Applied Sociology. She also writes fiction and skips about the interweb as Emlyn Chand.




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