Article Written by Zachary Stambaugh.
Mike Hasbrouck has taught Spanish at SCSU since 1999, but his passion for the language has always extended far beyond the classroom. While his strong desire to teach students has played an important role in his career, so has the freedom to pursue his passions during time off from work. He spends a lot of time with his family, traveling, and playing music in his band.
Dr. Hasbrouck has been interested in language and culture for quite some time. A student at St. Cloud State, he graduated in 1987 with a degree in both French and Spanish. He also spent some time studying abroad in Spain, which he attributed to his desire to teach Spanish and his passion for travel.
“I got to go to Spain for that year, and that was the big thing in my life,” he said. “Other than having kids, studying abroad is one of the things that completely changed my perspective on life.” Over the course of his career, Dr. Hasbrouck has traveled to several Spanish-speaking countries. These include Chile, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, to name a few. His decision to lead the study abroad program allowed him to travel to both Chile and Costa Rica, while his time on sabbatical made it so that he could stay in Guatemala for a semester.
Dr. Hasbrouck’s time spent traveling helped him to develop a passion for the culture of the Spanish-speaking world, which has often been reflected in his teaching. “You can tell that he genuinely cares about what he teaches,” said Josh Stambaugh, a student of Hasbrouck’s. “He always finds a way to incorporate his own life experiences into whatever is being discussed in class.”
When Hasbrouck is not teaching or traveling, he can be found spending time with his family. He and his wife have three children together, who he often goes on family trips with. “I like to travel with my kids, or just do stuff with my family and hang out.” Hasbrouck said.
In addition to spending time with his loved ones, Dr. Hasbrouck also enjoys playing music during his free time. He founded a band, Stearns County Pachanga Society, in 2002 with his brother and some of their friends. The band plays a wide variety of musical styles, some songs are even in Spanish.
The band is rather multifaceted. “I would say we do the biggest variety of any band,” said Hasbrouck. “We do tunes in Spanish, we do a lot of reggae stuff, we do rock tunes, some country tunes, we do all sorts of stuff.” Stearns County Pachanga society has performed at various venues throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, sometimes even performing at the Red Carpet in St. Cloud. Within the band, Dr. Hasbrouck can be seen playing the Tres and the charango, both of which are Spanish-stringed instruments. His decision to pursue these instruments came from the realization that the guitar was too generic, and that he needed to stand out amongst his bandmates.
Aside from playing in his band, Dr. Hasbrouck has another exciting way to spend his free time that is soon to be on the horizon. He and his wife plan to retire within the next few years. However, he has no plans on slowing down. As a matter of fact, he is looking at purchasing a van that he and his wife can use to travel the country.
He looks forward to exploring new places and meeting new people while continuing to learn and grow.