"Living in the International Learning Community was the best choice I made to increase my language proficiency on campus."

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Major(s) and Certificate(s): Philosophy; Integrated Liberal Studies/European Studies/Scandinavian Studies

Language(s): Swedish

Graduation Year: 2013

Current Location: Bronx, NY

What have you done since graduating from UW-Madison?

Since graduating from UW-Madison in 2013, I have worked in abroad teaching English in France for six months. After I got back, I started law school in Chicago and completed my studies in Brooklyn. NY. During law school, I specialized in international law with a focus on immigration and human rights. I have worked at the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, The New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs and Safe Horizons -Immigration Visa Assistance Project.

What motivated you to study this/these languages?

I had a difficult time learning traditional languages in high school. Learning a Scandinavian language appealed to me because it does not require verb conjugation.

How have these languages enriched your life?

I always get asked about my motivation for learning this language, especially in job interviews. Most recently I discovered a co-worker of mine grew up in Stockholm and we’ve been having conversations in Swedish.

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

My language classes at UW were always challenging but also created a sense of community that I really enjoyed. Often the same students were taking Scandinavian languages on campus, so it was easy to build camaraderie with your classmates.

How valuable were your out-of-classroom experiences?

Living in the International Learning Community was the best choice I made to increase my language proficiency on campus. Living in the community forced me to speak and listen to Swedish outside of my classes. This made it easier for me to pick up nuances over time.

How have you maintained or improved your language(s) since graduation?  

Sadly I have not maintained my language skills as much as I would have liked but my co-worker has become a great resource. He also claims I am not as rusty as I think I am.

What advice do you have for current language students?

Embrace being uncomfortable as much as you can during the learning process. It makes the frustrating moments of language learning easier.

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

På svenska (Translation: “In Swedish”)