“I want to see how Japanese residents in Peru use Spanish and how the two languages intersect,” said Niland, who majored in intercultural communication and minored in Spanish and Japanese. She wants to blend her passion for both languages in her research, and looked for a site where people speak both languages; Peru’s large population of ethnically Japanese residents makes it ideal.
Niland hopes to get a better understanding of attitudes about the use of Japanese and to examine how the language mixture of Japanese residents compares to that of earlier generations.
Niland’s love of language began when she tutored ESL students at Ballard High School in Seattle. “I taught them how to do algebra in English, and they taught me how to dance in Spanish,” she said.
She now lives, she said, with varying degrees of “Spanglanese,” explaining, “My friends speak mostly Spanish, my family speaks only English, and I am learning Japanese.”
“Foreign language skills bring a degree of intercultural understanding that can help break down stereotypes,” Niland said.
She says she is eager to embark on her cultural journey, and hopes to eventually become a translator and interpreter.
Niland was co-founder and president of Linfield’s Spanish Club and helped organize Linfield’s first annual Hispanic Heritage Day. She served as a volunteer reading tutor for Spanish-speaking elementary school children.
“Lily is one of 20 Linfield College graduating seniors who have been selected for Fulbright grants since 1999, with four of these students graduating this year,” said Deborah Olsen, competitive scholarships advisor.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.