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Getting to know...Dr. Patricia Nuriel

Dr. Patricia Nuriel, professor in Wofford's foreign language department, has already seen more of this world than most of us will ever dream of seeing. But even though she loves to travel she hopes her journey has settled, at least for a long while, here in Spartanburg.

“I really like the Wofford community,” she says. “I enjoy working with my colleagues in the foreign language department.”

pn250Nuriel’s path to Wofford is like an episode of the Amazing Race. It started in Argentina and Chile, and after spending several years in Switzerland as a young girl, the journey took her back to Argentina. Then it moved on to Israel, where she lived for the longest period of time and obtained her BA and MA degrees at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Then it went through Arizona, where she earned her Ph.D at Arizona State, and on to the University of Southern California for one year before she arrived at Wofford this year.

Has there been a culture shock moving from Los Angeles to Spartanburg? Not really, she says.

“Phoenix was new and different,” she explains. “L.A. was new and different. And now this is new and different, too.”

Everything is new and different when you are constantly exploring. As if her career path wasn’t enough of a long and winding road, she spends much of her free time traveling. While in Arizona and southern California, she got to see almost every state in the West. Living here in Spartanburg, she is planning to take trips to Charleston and other places in the Carolinas.

One of her loves is hiking, something she gets to do a lot of in this part of the country. She also has a fondness for horses, a love she “drags with me from Argentina, where it’s a tradition.” And there’s also skiing, something she picked up in Switzerland and worked on in Argentina.

Teaching foreign language is a natural for her. After all, during her life she has learned Spanish, German, Spanish again, and Hebrew.

Something else that comes naturally is meeting new people. One of the joys of travel for her is meeting people with whom she doesn’t share a language and overcoming that barrier.

“I like the challenge of overcoming cultural differences,” she says. “Somehow, it’s always possible to have a dialogue with someone.”

The vast opportunities to teach Spanish and Latin American culture brought her to America. But something else brought her to Wofford. While at USC, she had three visits lined up. Wofford was the first. There was no second.

“I cancelled the other visits,” she says. “I loved Wofford at first sight.”