Cara McLaughlin"USD has a strong sense of community and a great atmosphere."

Cara McLaughlin - Granville, OH
Majors: French

I chose USD primarily for its size, location and affordability. The school is large without being so large that it's hard to get to know people. I adore Vermillion, there are so many fun places to go and the price is right.

I was inspired by my fifth grade French teacher and my tutor to pursue a bachelor of arts in French. My choice was solidified by a trip to Québec as a senior in high school.

My favorite aspect of USD is the campus. There are so many great resources available to us, and the Muenster University Center is a great place to socialize or study. Campus setup is fantastic and it is also beautiful. USD also has a strong sense of community and a great atmosphere. The students are friendly, polite, and if you ever need help it is not difficult to find.

In addition to my studies, I am involved in the French club. The club has allowed me to meet people who also speak the language and we practice together. These people have become some of my best friends.

My post-graduation plans are to continue my education at Graduate School to pursue a degree in translations and interpretations.

Charlie Steward"USD does have a lot to offer and the best way to spend your time in college is to try a lot of different things."

Charlie Steward - Yankton, SD
Majors: French, International Studies

I chose USD because the tuition and the education you receive is a great value. My professors definitely inspired me to pursue my majors. If I had different professors I can say, with certainty, that my majors would not be what they are today.

My favorite part about USD is the student body. It's big enough so you can't meet everyone, but small enough to run into friendly faces on often occasions.

In addition to my regular studies, I had the opportunity to Study Abroad in Pau, France. The time I spent in the south of France was truly awesome. I would do it again in a heartbeat.


Josh Lacey"I spent nearly four months abroad in Germany and was able to see my years of German classes bring me into a great culture."

Josh Lacey - Trent, SD
Major: German

Studying German at USD helped me decide my life plan. Because of the German program and being under the direction of Professor Istvan Gombocz, I became motivated to become a German teacher. I have retained this motivation throughout Graduate School and am always grateful for the supportive educational environment I received at USD. Studying German has given me a strong group of friends as well, who I would not have met without the German program.

I spent nearly four months abroad in Germany and was able to see my years of German classes bring me into a great culture, history and language. Knowing English is really the only prerequisite one would need to start taking German, as I had no German experience until I came to USD. I found that four years of undergraduate coursework were more than enough to prepare me for the future profession of teaching German, which I had chosen.

As a student in the Honors program, I was able to work further with Gombocz in order to complete and successfully defend my Honors Thesis relating to a German group of the late 1960s. I increased my knowledge not only of the German language, but also German history and culture. I am thankful to have been able to combine the strengths together, in order to develop myself not only as a student, but also a citizen.

It was my German descent and the far-reaching German influence in the Midwest that motivated me to study German. With Germany having such a strong economical presence in Europe, along with their humanitarian traditions, taking German at a liberal arts university was a very beneficial step in my life. Having multiple opportunities to visit Germany through USD is great, as I also participated in a Europe tour with the Jazz Band. I had the chance to use the skills of my major then, as well as later when I studied abroad, and I could not be happier with my decision to study German.

Aaron Clem"Learning a second language is a valuable skill that can help set you apart as an applicant to any position."

Aaron Clem - Sioux Falls, SD
Majors: German, Chemistry

Besides being a family tradition, I chose to go to USD because of the numerous academic opportunities in the liberal arts and sciences. USD also provides an excellent education for a comparatively low cost.

Professor Istvan Gombocz was extraordinarily helpful and influential during my education at USD. He spent countless hours outside of class helping me and others develop German language abilities and planning for me to Study Abroad.

I had the opportunity to study abroad for six months in Jena, Germany. This was, without a doubt, the most amazing experience of my undergraduate years. I made great friends from Germany and around the world, traveled extensively, learned a new lifestyle, and had an absolutely unforgettable experience.

In addition to my studies, I participated in the German Club and Honors Program.

I am currently in my second year of medical school at the Sanford School of Medicine at USD.

Doug Dailey"German was one of the things about USD that I enjoyed the most."

Doug Dailey - Jefferson, SD
Minor: German

I was a German minor, and I took the standard 2-year sequence as well as junior and senior level classes.

Taking these courses not only helped me to learn another language, but it also helped me to experience another culture, which is important for people from the Midwest to understand given that many have German ancestries.

At the end of my studies at USD, I felt like I was prepared to travel to Germany and really experience the culture.

I am currently attending graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in mathematics. Knowledge of the German language is a very useful part of the graduate program at my current school. Advisors require their students to take a language exam in French, German, or Russian.

Many of the classic mathematical treatises from legends like Gauss, Euler, Hilbert, and Cantor have never been translated from their original languages, so it is necessary for the researcher to have knowledge of one or more of these languages to assist in their research. The knowledge I received from the German program is more than sufficient to read most mathematical writings in German and has been useful in my graduate school career.


Katie Kammert"Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to professors and build a meaningful relationship with them; they are an incredible resource that should not be ignored."

Katie Kammert - Rapid City, SD
Majors: Spanish, Biology

Currently, I am a second year medical student at ATSU's Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, osteopathy's founding institution. My biology degree prepared me for the basic science foundation required for medicine yet my Spanish degree set me apart from my classmates and allowed me to pursue even more adventures.

Before I started at USD, I was fortunate enough to take four years of high school Spanish that allowed me to test out of four university semesters. I found myself in Professor Angela Helmer's Advanced Grammar class wondering what I had gotten myself into. For the first weeks of the semester, I struggled to understand what she was saying and felt overwhelmed by the talent of my peers. Soon enough I began adapting to her teachings and saw my comprehension improve.

Professors like Helmer are the gems of USD that make the college experience unique and rewarding. She inspires and challenges her students to consider new ideas, and encourages them to travel beyond their comfort zone to appreciate different cultures. Her classes and guidance helped me as I traveled through Peru, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico and Nicaragua.

Throughout these travels, my Spanish continues to improve and on a recent medical trip to Nicaragua, I was allowed to see patients without the use of a translator. It was an incredible opportunity to utilize years of practice and learning to make a difference in someone's life. As a future physician, I hope that I can continue to help Spanish speakers receive the proper care and compassion that everyone deserves.

I am thankful for the professors and education that I received and am always proud to include USD when people ask where I learned Spanish.

Brock Shardin"I loved the sense of community I found at USD."

Brock Schardin - Marion, SD
Majors: Spanish, Secondary Spanish Education

I chose USD because I wanted a challenging educational experience combined with extracurricular activities. The summer after my sophomore year I participated in USD's Study Abroad program and the experience changed my career path completely.

With help from the Office of Global Learning combined with the support of the Spanish department I was able to find the program that fit my specific needs and could dedicate myself to learning the language, culture, and history of the Spanish-speaking world.

I loved the sense of community I found at USD. The faculty, staff, students, and alumni come together to form an incredibly tight-knit group. Faculty members in the Spanish department have been influential in my development. Through them, I was able to visit several Spanish-speaking countries, attend various conferences, and make countless connections, both personal and professional.

Participation in the Spanish Club, AWOL, Sigma Delta Pi Honors Society, Marching Band, Pep Band, Program Council and South Dakota Governor's Camp allowed me to become an engaged member of the community.

Don't be afraid to open your mind to change. Enjoy the well-rounded educational opportunities offered at USD. Take classes that interest you, not just the ones that fulfill the requirements for your degree.

Brock was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship in 2012.