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Languages at UW-Madison

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Sarah S.

Major(s) and Certificate(s) 

Spanish, Anthropology, African Studies Certificate

Graduation Year 
Current city 
Current state/province/country (if outside US) 
What have you done since graduating from UW-Madison? 

I am a third grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School in Madison. I teach in a Dual Language Immersion classroom where half of the students are native Spanish speakers and half are native English speakers. In my classroom we use Spanish in the mornings and English in the afternoons.

What motivated you to study this/these languages? 

I always knew I wanted to study Spanish because I saw Spanish-speaking students in my high school who struggled because there were very few staff members who could communicate with them. I wanted to be able to talk to my friends and neighbors. When I started at UW-Madison I was part of a First-year Interest Group (FIG) on African language and culture, and part of that was a Yoruba language class. Finally, I studied Quechua while studying abroad in Lima, Peru.

How have these languages enriched your life? 

I use my language every day at work! My knowledge of Spanish allows me to develop closer relationships with students and families.

What do you remember about your UW language classes? How were they different from other classes you took? 

Going to my Yoruba professor’s house with our whole class for an authentic homemade Nigerian dinner.

What is your favorite word or phrase in a language you know? 

wakcha ("poor" in Quechua). It can also mean "orphan," and as someone who values my family, I know that I would be truly poor without them.