A Love for Language


Hunter Neary ’18, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, has a gift for learning languages. He is majoring in international relations and minoring in Spanish and German. Hunter became interested in languages in high school because he finds them fascinating. “I find languages interesting because it is indicative of how different people think…when you learn a language, you not only gain an ability to speak with them, but you also learn how they think,” he says. When he was younger, he used to have anxiety when speaking English. He could not speak without feeling self-conscious and nervous. In tenth grade, Hunter’s friend encouraged him to join a speech and debate club. They practiced two days a week and would spend every Saturday at various high schools throughout Colorado giving speeches on issues related to international politics. This experience was the beginning of his passion for languages and international relations.

In middle school, he picked up French, Spanish, and German. He skipped a year in German and Spanish when he was in eleventh grade. By the time he graduated, he had completed the highest level of both languages. In addition, he also began taking private Russian lessons from a Russian exchange student at his high school in twelfth grade. When he arrived at Roanoke College, he requested to take Spanish, German, and Russian for the first semester and was accepted. This semester, only his second semester in college, he is taking a Spanish class, two German classes, and two Russian classes. As of now, he considers himself fluent in English, German, and Spanish. By next year, he hopes to be fluent in Russian.

In the future, Hunter hopes to work in the US government or an NGO. Specifically, he would like to work with the US Foreign Service somewhere in Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine. In the next three years of college, he hopes to prepare himself professionally for his chosen career. He would like to take a May Term, study abroad in Eastern Europe, and possibly participate in the Washington Semester. When his time frees up a bit, he hopes to pick up French again and even begin learning Farsi. Hunter aims to be fluent in seven or more languages in the course of his lifetime. His gift for languages will be a wonderful asset to the Public Affairs Department and Roanoke College as a whole.