Alumni Profile: Torii Cloud

Torii Cloud believed that a degree in Spanish would be her ticket to travel.

And it was.

Cloud is a primary school teaching assistant in Spain who helps teachers and students with pronunciation, grammar and other aspects of English.

“I’m technically considered a student, but I’m not formally studying anything,” Cloud said. “The children are usually in classes taught in Spanish, then they’ll have English and one class, like natural science, taught in English. We call them ‘clases bilingues.’”

Cloud said she is learning more languages and would like to be an interpreter when she’s fluent in French and another language.

Her interest in Spanish originated in kindergarten when two older students visited her classroom and taught the students numbers and colors in Spanish.

 The culture of the Spanish language is what Cloud finds most enjoyable.

“I find it very interesting how many different Spanish accents there are and how much slang exists,” she said. “In Spain, there are at least five languages spoken that are considered ‘Spanish,’ and in some regions I have to specify that I speak Castellano Spanish.”

Cloud said the Spanish degree she earned at Henderson has helped her become fluent in Spanish and “communicate with people I never would have met otherwise.”

“The professors are great,” she said. “Dr. MaryJane Dunn, Dr. Nydia Jeffers and Dr. Margarita Peraza helped me through my degree and I couldn’t have done it without them. It was actually Dr. Jeffers’s suggestion that I apply for the program that I’m doing now.”

Cloud recalled the day that she “woke up” and didn’t have a problem understanding anyone who was speaking to her in Spanish.

“Mostly it’s because I’m in a different region where people fully pronounce their words,” she said. “But it made me feel great.”

Cloud, who is from Benton-Harmony Grove, attended Henderson from 2012-2016. She was active in Alpha Mu Gamma, Alpha Sigma Tau, Gamma Beta Phi, Honor’s College, Rotary and Heart & Key.

When asked to describe herself, Cloud said she likes to listen and learn things.

“That’s part of the reason I prefer to be an interpreter over a public speaker,” she said.

If she hadn’t majored in Spanish, Cloud said she had thought about majoring in music or biology and had considered being a doctor.

“I encourage anyone who finishes their degree and who wants to travel to consider becoming a language assistant,” she said. “It’s a great way to see Spain and potentially learn Spanish.”

• This alumni feature is part of an ongoing project featuring Henderson's outstanding undergraduate and graduate academic programs.