Erinn Holloway wants everyone to know about the foreign language opportunities available to students at Mississippi University for Women.

Erinn Holloway, Dr. Reyna Vergara and Edgar Serrano

As coordinator for the Study Abroad Programs at The W, Holloway works with students who capitalize on their foreign language skills to network, build relationships and travel to other countries.

But Holloway wants to spread the news.

That’s why the Spanish instructor is so excited that the Mississippi Foreign Language Association (MFLA) will hold its annual conference Nov. 10-11 at The W. The event will bring foreign language teachers and students from the state together for two days of connection, education, advocacy and more.

“The conference will be a great way for students and teachers to learn more about all of the ways studying foreign languages at The W can help open doors,” Holloway said.

The conference is open to all foreign language and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers in the state of Mississippi. The agenda is still being finalized, but the conference will emphasize the power of language and connection and how teachers can use those things to help students forge pathways into so many careers.

Holloway said there are numerous Study Abroad opportunities available at The W. She said The W has a bilateral exchange with Aichi Shukutoku University in Nagoya, Japan, and with the University of Alicante in Alicante, Spain. Each exchange allows The W students to study in Japan or Spain but continue to pay The W tuition. As long as the students are enrolled in sufficient hours while abroad, Holloway said they can use federal or state financial aid and The W scholarships to help pay for the program. Those students must pay for travel and living expenses while in Japan or Spain.

Holloway also said The W offers a four-week, faculty-led Study Abroad summer program to a Spanish speaking country every other year. She said students travel to the host country with a member of The W faculty, and the students take classes at a local university or institute as well as a class with the faculty member.

In June, Holloway traveled to Alicante, Spain, with 10 students from The W.

In addition to the travel opportunities available to foreign language students, Holloway said students in The W’s Teacher Education program can receive a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with their elective courses focusing on education. The kindergarten through grade 12 licensure program enables teachers to teach at the primary or secondary level.

Edgar Serrano, executive director of the MFLA, said one of the goals of the conference is to highlight opportunities available to students and teachers. Serrano, who is a lecturer of Spanish at the University of Mississippi, was president of the MFLA from 2016-18. He also is the president-elect for the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL). Since its founding, Serrano said the MFLA has worked to break down barriers and to educate people about the importance of learning a foreign language.

“The conference will provide a lot of professional development,” Serrano said. “It will offer a look at what is new in the education side and what can we learn. But another one of the powerful benefits of the conference is the ability to network with others.”

The cost is $50 for teachers and $25 for students. The conference will offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs) that teachers can use to renew their teaching certification.

To register for the conference or to get more information about the MFLA, go to: and fill out the contact information at the bottom of the page. There also will be a free conference workshop, “Embracing Differences in the Language Learning Classroom,” on Saturday, Nov. 11.

By clicking “Conferences” at the top of the page and going to “2023 Conference,” all language educators can submit proposals for the 2023 MFLA Conference by Sept. 1.

Also at or at, you can register to take part in The W’s Teaching Contest 2024.

For more information about the benefits of attending the MFLA conference, contact Dr. Reyna Vergara, assistant professor of Spanish at The W, at, or Holloway at

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.