Major(s) and Certificate(s): International Studies
Language(s): French, Spanish & Swahili
Graduation Year: 2011
What motivated you to study this/these languages?
I chose French because my family is from Francophone Africa (Cameroon and Democratic Republic of Congo) and I have always had French in my life. I chose Spanish because I like the language and it is similar to French in terms of grammar and some vocabulary. It is also a convenient language to learn in the United State. I chose to learn Swahili because my dad’s side of the family speaks it and I really wanted to learn it. I also was planning on studying abroad in Kenya and thought it would be very useful.
How have these languages enriched your life?
Studying language is an important way for me to stay connected with my family and friends in other countries. For some of my relatives from the older generation, it is crucial to be able to speak with them, understand their advice, listen to their stories, and overall create and maintain a relationship. Without language, it is very difficult to understand and relate to one another. Language has enriched my life professionally because I am qualified for many different positions based on my language skills and have the ability to acquire more. I have been tutoring for the past three years which not only helps the students I tutor, but it also helps me to retain my skills. Academically, knowing various languages has shown to be important in my classes in terms of relating issues or vocabulary to another language
What do you remember about your UW language classes? How were they different from other classes you took?
Performing a skit for the other African language class in Swahili about a couple from two ethnic backgrounds whose parents did not want them to get married. I played the father of the girl and had to wear a mustache that kept falling off.
What is your favorite word or phrase in a language you know?
caoutchouc (“rubber” in French)