Language, economics run together in FLIE organization

Olivia Powell

The Foreign Language and International Economics Society is working to equip students for a multidisciplinary education and career while connecting them with other students and faculty that share their passion for language.

The organization is the result of a collaboration between the UK’s departments of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Hispanic Studies, and Economics in efforts to create the major now known as FLIE.

Ruth Brown, a Hispanic Studies professor at UK and the FLIE Society’s faculty adviser, is at the forefront of the program. Brown got involved in the organization while serving on the Foreign Language and International Economics faculty committee.

“We wanted to see if we could start a group and bring some students together and give them programming and opportunities to be in a community, but also to learn more specifically about how to prepare themselves for their future careers,” Brown said.

There are about 45 FLIE majors at UK, each one studying both economics and one of the eight languages offered by the program. Students can specialize in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian or Spanish.

“I think just figuring out who other students are in the field can be a resource,” Brown said. “It’s nice for students to have a way to connect with other students who are doing similar studies.”

The FLIE Society is primarily made up of students in the FLIE program, but it is open to all majors. About a third of involved students study different majors or are underclassmen that are interested in FLIE but have yet to officially declare.

“There are some people on the OrgSync page that aren’t necessarily FLIE majors,” Brown said. “It’s more like an interest group.”

Whatever their majors are, students in the society have a wide range of future plans including careers in government, law, international relations, research and multinational business.

In its short time on campus, the group has organized a number of activities including an information session on study abroad opportunities specifically for FLIE majors, student mixers and interest fairs.

Going forward, the group hopes to hold meetings with the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and the Gatton College of Business and Economics to help students prepare for graduate school.

Sylvia Jaworski, a Spanish and International Economics major, serves as the organization’s president. She and her fellow FLIE major Malia Dunn-Reier assist Brown in leading the society’s activities.

Students can get involved by joining the Foreign Language and International Economics Society page on OrgSync. The organization meets irregularly to discuss projects and activities in progress.

The group’s current focus is recruiting members and sparking students’ interest in order to reach as many people as possible.

“All the students who study FLIE aren’t necessarily in the same language, but it’s kind of cool to see that other people have this interest in mixing economics and business with language,” Brown said.