Emily I.

Languages: Swedish, Spanish, Hebrew (Modern)

Major and Certificate: Psychology, Scandinavian Studies

Graduation Year: 2011

What motivated you to study these languages?

I had taken Spanish since elementary school, so after taking one semester in college I decided to try something new. I chose Swedish because I listen to a lot of Scandinavian music. Deciding to take Hebrew was a no-brainer because I am Jewish and have a religious connection to it, but I also thought it would come in handy since I plan on going to Jerusalem for a year after graduation.

How have these languages enriched your life?

I love being able to speak a language that so few people know, and I also feel privileged to have access to Swedish literature that I may otherwise have never had the opportunity to read.

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

In truth, every Swedish class was a blast because my teacher Rakel had the wackiest, most creative teaching style ever! She once printed out a bunch of pictures of herself from a website that blended her face with old yearbook photos. She strung them out onto necklaces for the entire class to wear as we organized ourselves into a human family tree to help us learn the Swedish words for different family members.

How valuable were your out-of-classroom experiences?

I lived in the Norden House of the International Learning Community last year, which was a great experience and one that I would highly recommend. I not only improved my Swedish conversation skills, but gained experience communicating with people who spoke other Scandinavian languages such as Danish and Norwegian.

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

Bumbibjörn (gummy bear in Swedish)