Tasneem H.

"You're not simply learning a language. The language is just one part of a people, their experiences, history, and so much more!"

Major(s) and Certificate(s): Elementary Education & ESL Cert

Graduation Year: 2018

Current Location: Milwaukee, WI

Language(s): Turkish

What have you done since graduating from UW-Madison?

I am working as a 5th-grade homeroom teacher to a classroom of vibrant future leaders.

What motivated you to study this/these languages?

My curiosity was what started my Turkish Language journey. I came across a people, language and culture that had such a rich history that I eagerly wanted to understand on a deeper level. Once I got my foot through the door, the layers and depth of
the language, culture, and history were enough of a motivation to help me in the push to better my language skills.

How have these languages enriched your life?

Turkish opened a beautiful door for me where I was able to make deep connections across my own identities and histories. Throughout my language journey, I was continuously weaving the Arabic I grew up with and the new Turkish I was learning. I was making these connections with customs and traditions as well. It increased my love and appreciation for the language immensely.

Becoming a ‘language learner’ later on in my life as well was a very beneficial experience as I work with emergent bilingual students all the time. I try to support them in their own experience by sharing my own. I share my strategies of connecting languages—whether it be between English and Spanish, Spanish and Arabic, or Arabic and English. Students are always so excited to see how those linguistic and historical connections can be made.

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

My college experience started off rough. My Turkish language classes provided me with a warm and stable space during a time of instability in my life. I was able to form beautiful relationships with instructors and classmates. The small class sizes also helped to create an authentic learning environment that supported me throughout this time.

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

Phone apps are something I turn to in my free time to continue my exposure to more
formal language lessons. They provide me with an opportunity to expand my discourses and gain vocabulary in different subject areas and topics. I also tune in to Turkish TV which helps with exposure to more colloquial lingo and cultural practices. Turkish music has also become a big part of my life. Its artists are vibrant and bold, sharing their rich spirits through different genres of music. It makes growing my playlist an easy task.

What advice do you have for current language students?

Dive deep into the experience! You’re not simply learning a language. The language is just one part of a people, their experiences, history, and so much more. The more
layers you peel back, the more meaning behind the language you find.

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

Büyüleyici = captivating, enchanting, entrancing