Elizabeth K.

"Learning German has taught me a different way of thinking. There's something about having thoughts in a different language that has allowed me to question my own beliefs."

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Major(s) and Certificate(s): Philosophy, German, Gender & Women’s Studies

Language(s): German

Graduation Year: 2013

Current Location: Madison, WI

What have you done since graduating from UW-Madison?

I graduated from UW-Madison while studying abroad in Freiburg, Germany. After watching the 2012 Presidential Elections in the US and the reelection of Angela Merkel as German Chancellor, I knew I needed to get involved in politics when I returned home. I worked as a legislative intern and was hired to work on Mary Burke’s campaign for Governor. Now I work at the Progressive Magazine. With a bit of luck, I hope to move back to Germany in 2016.

What motivated you to study this/these languages?

I have German citizenship and wanted to continue studying the language after really enjoying it in high school.

How have these languages enriched your life?

Learning German has taught me a different way of thinking. There’s something about having thoughts in a different language that has allowed me to question my own beliefs. Learning German and living abroad has given me so much self confidence and tolerance for other ways of life.

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

I loved the smaller class sizes. I really was able to have relationships with the students in my class and my professors and teaching assistants.

How valuable were your out-of-classroom experiences?

I feel like it’s impossible to quantify the value of learning German and living abroad. But after these experiences I realized that I had more freedom to choose how I could live my life. There’s something about attending college that tacitly made me feel like I had to tick all of the boxes and get the perfect GPA. Studying abroad completely reinvented this model for me and I became and independent thinker and an even more ambitious achiever. I started planning what I wanted my life to be like post-college.

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

I listen to the German news and have started applying for jobs and internships abroad.

What advice do you have for current language students?

Study abroad and master the grammar. You really can’t pretend to know grammar rules but never let this prevent you from speaking.

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

Kein Fleiß, nur Scheiß “No diligence, just shit”