Speaking the same language

Senior studies Spanish to connect with coworkers


Senior Madeline Sprouse works behind the front desk at Stone Creek Dining.

Luci Sendelbach, Staff Writer

Senior Madeline Sprouse has been working at Stone Creek Dining since Sept. 2021. Since starting the job, she has had many different tasks, such as talking to guests and, more recently, starting to post on their social media. 

“I work at Stone Creek. I started working there in Sept. 2021 as a hostess and in March 2022 I started posting on their Facebook as their Social Media curator as well,” Sprouse said. “I applied to work there hoping to just get some extra gas or fun money, but I have actually grown to really enjoy my job.”

After she started the job, she got to know new people, and some of her coworkers’ native language was Spanish. She began studying Spanish to grow her relationships at work.

“It was never expected of me to know or learn Spanish working there but many people who work in the kitchen know Spanish as their first language,” Sprouse said. “The more I would talk to those coworkers, the more I would pick up the little words and phrases they would say to each other.”

To learn Spanish, Sprouse has been following lessons on Duolingo, a popular language-learning app. This helped her understand the basics, such as simple sentences, that she heard through others conversations at work. 

“Eventually, I started using Duolingo to attempt to pick up some more Spanish and I was able to communicate basic ideas in Spanish at work; I could ask for certain foods, kitchen items and favors,” Sprouse said.

In addition to learning from Duolingo, Sprouse also started listening to Spanish music to help her with more common phrases. 

“I wanted to learn more Spanish to communicate with them more so I started listening to Spanish music like reggaeton and rancheras and would connect with those at work over music,” Sprouse said.  “It even got to the point where the Spanish artist, Bad Bunny, was my most played artist of 2022 on Spotify.”

Although learning Spanish has not affected the tasks she does at work, she finds that being able to connect and communicate more with others makes her day at work better.

“The duties of my job haven’t changed since learning more Spanish; most of my job is still interacting with guests, seating the servers in a rotation, taking pictures of food and creating posts for their Facebook,” Sprouse said. “Work is more fun now, though, and it is nice to be able to be friends with more people at work than I previously would’ve been able to because of the slight language barrier.”

Being able to talk to other coworkers that she would not normally interact with because they do not speak the same language has really helped her get to know them.

“I have personally found, the people who I work with who speak Spanish as their first language tend to open up more when speaking their native language,” Sprouse said. “I’m not sure if they are just not as comfortable forming their ideas on more complex emotions in English or if they just feel as if they are closer or relate more to people who speak Spanish.”

Sprouse believes that learning Spanish now will benefit her in the future.

“I hope to study Spanish more in college and get a Spanish minor along with my marketing major,” Sprouse said. “In the future I would like to have a career that requires me to travel, and I think Spanish will be very useful for that.”