Languages: German, Chinese
Graduation Year: 2011
Majors: Biochemistry, German
What have you done since graduating from UW-Madison?
I am working as an intern through the Global Health and Technology Access program at Duke University.
What motivated you to study these languages?
I began studying German in seventh grade. Excellent intermediate and high school level language teachers first inspired my interest in German. I remember one Professor- Frau Pierson- gave me a German copy of a Harry Potter book. That was probably the day I truly fell in love with the language. Foreign language and wizards- what’s not to love? I have always loved the way the German language sounds.
As for Mandarin, I hope that learning a language spoken by such a large proportion of the world’s population will enable me to serve as a more effective doctor to patients both in Wisconsin and internationally.
How have these languages enriched your life?
Learning German and Mandarin has given me the opportunity to travel the world, to meet new people, to try foods that have way too many legs, and to become horribly lost in foreign cities yet know that I will somehow be able to find my way home.
How valuable were your out-of-classroom experiences?
During the summer of 2008, I was accepted into an internship program at the Friedrich-Wilhelm Institute in Bonn, Germany. Although I had taken some German in High School, I was in no way prepared for the moment when I stepped into lab on my first day, and my mentor began explaining the functioning of an X-ray diffraction machine completely auf Deutsch. Communicating that summer was by no means easy, but being able to present my final findings to the department’s head professor completely in his native language was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. I continue to combine my international and health interests and in the summer of 2010 I am working as an intern through the Global Health and Technology Access program at Duke University.
What is your favorite word or phrase in a language you know?
Ich liebe dich (“I love you” in German).