"Learning Turkish has exposed me to a culture different from my own, while simultaneously showing me the crossover between my Bosnian background and Turkey."
Major(s) and Certificate(s)
History Major, Gender and Women’s Studies Certificate
What have you done since graduating from UW-Madison?
Since graduating, I traveled the Balkans and put my language skills to use. I am currently waiting to hear back from Foreign Policy masters programs.
What motivated you to study this/these languages?
Upon moving to the U.S., I did not grow up with any formal Serbo-Croatian language education. In college, I realized I was starting to forget how to speak my native tongue. I got excited when I saw that UW-Madison offers Serbo-Croatian Language and Literature courses, and decided to take the opportunity to brush up on my skills. With regard to Turkish, I have always been curious about the language and culture. I wanted to channel my curiosity by taking the course and challenging myself to learn something different.
How have these languages enriched your life?
Learning Turkish has exposed me to a culture different from my own, while simultaneously showing me the crossover between my Bosnian background and Turkey. Before taking the class, I did not realize how many Serbo-Croatian words are borrowed from the Turkish language. Foods like sarma, burek (börek), and pagača (poğaça), also showed the close cultural ties. To me, this is enriching because it showed me the importance of finding common ground with others.
What do you remember about your UW language classes? How were they different from other classes you took?
Language classes are different from other classes because they are discussion based and student focused. This allows you to practice the language more often and put your skills to the test. In both of my classes, the professors were very patient and helpful guides in the learning process. Because me and my peers were at the same level, we were able to use each other to learn whenever we needed a different perspective.
How have you maintained or improved your language(s) since graduation?
I practice my Serbo-Croatian everyday with friends and family. As for Turkish, I am hoping to keep studying the language throughout graduate school.
What advice do you have for current language students?
The challenges you may be facing are a part of the learning process, do not allow yourself to be discouraged by them. Embracing moments of struggle and learning from them makes you prepared for further challenges.
What is your favorite word or phrase in a language you know?
Kolay gelsin = “May it be easy for you”