Emilie Holmgren

Emilie Holmgren
English and Spanish
Excelsior, Minnesota
Member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, Irving Bacheller Society, Intramural Broomball

This August, for my final year at St. Lawrence, I made the 20-hour drive from Minnesota to campus with my sister (a new Laurentian). Before leaving home I never considered Minnesota exotic, but I suppose the distance and lack of knowledge about Minnesota have created an air of mystery for many people I meet here. I grew up in a small town outside of Minneapolis and went to Minnetonka High School, which is one of Minnesota’s top rated public schools. The best step after attending a high school of 3,000+ students was a hard decision to make. I applied to ten schools all over the country and took a weekend to visit the East Coast schools with my father. The first stop was St. Lawrence, his alma mater.  Though it was the dead of winter I still fell in love with campus. While I was excited to get away from my town to experience something different, St. Lawrence felt so comfortable and familiar. I knew this school, with lower enrollment than my high school, would give me the small classes and close teacher-student relationships I sought out. The acclaimed study abroad programs St. Lawrence offers intrigued me as well. After taking Spanish classes all of high school and continuing throughout college, going abroad to Spain my junior year was crucial for becoming fluent and experiencing the culture all the while fulfilling major requirements. My time in Madrid was incredible. It exponentially helped me with my language skills and gave me the opportunity to be independent within the support system the program provided. One of my classes was held in a different museum each week while another met at a different literary café each week. These courses interwove traditional class time with first hand cultural experiences. I got to travel throughout Spain and be enmeshed in the diversity that adds to their nation as a whole. It fueled my desire to travel, especially to Spanish speaking countries, with a newfound confidence in my language skills.  

My educational journey at SLU extends beyond Spanish. This semester for my English major I am working 1-on-1 with a professor on an honors project focusing on a theme in 1920s American literature. This personal relationship and focus on a specific topic is exactly what I was seeking when I came to SLU. People often ask why I am double majoring in English and Spanish. The answer is that I get to look at a broad range of literature from many different cultures. In addition to amazing educational opportunities, SLU has given me my best friends for life. It is also remarkable that I am able to experience the school like my father did and now my little sister has started the journey as well. I’m still unsure about what my future holds but St. Lawrence has prepared me well for whatever is to come whether it be law or grad school, or possibly teaching English in a Spanish speaking country.