On Campus: The translator

eva_nordling.jpgThere’s nothing scientific about the News Cut on Campus methodology. I pull up to a college, set up a table, and the people who sit down to talk to me do so on their own accord. Since it’s not scientific, I can’t say with any certainty that they are representative of a generation, so I’ll say it uncertainly: They are interested in getting an education and then going out and doing good, and if there’s money to be made in the process, so much the better.

When I came up with the idea for the weekly chats about how students are feeling about the economy, I didn’t expect to find that. It’s not scientific, but then again, few other sweeping generalizations about a group of people are either.

Meet Eva Nordling of Bayfield, Wis., a student at Lake Superior College in Duluth, my stop on Wednesday.

“I’m graduating this spring with my AA, then I’ll transfer back to UMD (University of Minnesota Duluth) to get degree in Spanish,” she said. She wants to be a translator and work in Mexico.

Her family travels there once a year and volunteers at whatever places need some help. “Last year we went to a small village on the west side of Mexico and we worked at an orphanage just chilling with the kids,” she said. ‘My mom made Play Doh with them and we helped them with their schoolwork.” Nordling says the family has no relatives there; they just like to find places that need help, and go. “My mom’s not really into the whole Cancun scene, so we wanted something really tiny where there are no other tourists.”

After her year at UMD, Eva went to Florida to work on Habitat for Humanity houses. “That’s when I picked up Spanish really fast. I taught myself.”

She fights the economy that’s unfriendly to college kids. “My rent went up, I don’t have a job, so my parents help me out, but my mom might lose her job so they might not be able to help me out.”

Because she took semesters off to build houses for people who needed them in Florida, and chill with the kids in Mexico, Nordling was unable to get financial aid. She’s paying for school out of her pocket and with help from her parents. If she doesn’t get financial aid for UMD, she says she’ll just “go volunteer somewhere.”

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