Eric E.

Major: Master of Science in Library and Information Studies

Graduation Year: 2017

Current Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Language: Kazakh.

What have you done since graduating from UW-Madison?

I am still enrolled in my M.A. program at UW. Upon graduation it would be wonderful to apply my language skills in some capacity in Kazakhstan. At the moment, these plans are in the earliest stages of development.

What motivated you to study this language?

Initially, I aspired to become an area studies librarian specializing in Russia, East Europe and Central Asia. While I maintain my interest in the region, my professional ambitions have shifted. I remain grateful, however, that I have been able to study Kazakh for two years nonetheless. As I am now interested in obtaining a position in academic librarianship, knowledge of languages remains beneficial. To this end, my Kazakh language abilities will set me apart from others as I begin to seriously consider my future career options.

How has this language enriched your life?

Learning Kazakh was an entirely new experience, as it brought me out of my comfort zone and exposed me to an entirely new culture with vastly different beliefs, traditions and customs than those I have become accustomed to. Additionally, learning Kazakh was linguistically different than my previous language learning experiences. My time learning Kazakh was immensely challenging, thereby making my progress all the more rewarding. Last, but certainly not least, I have had the great fortune of having two delightful instructors! Learning Kazakh at UW-Madison has introduced me to a number of absolutely amazing people!

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

The biggest difference between my Kazakh courses and all others was the class size. I studied First Year Intensive Kazakh during the summer of 2015. In that course, there were only two students. During my study of Second Year Kazakh during the 2015-16 Academic Year, I was the only student. The one-to-one attention was vastly different from my other classes. Both of my instructors were absolutely wonderful and provided all the assistance I needed. They were more than willing to work with me throughout the many challenges I encountered during my study of Kazakh.

How have you maintained or improved your language since graduation?

In order to maintain my skills, I have kept my notes and class material accumulated during my study. I periodically review this material. Additionally, internet resources have been instrumental in helping me to maintain my Kazakh skills.

What advice do you have for current language students?

The best advice I can give to current language students is to not be afraid of making mistakes! Additionally, I enrolled in an intensive first year course. While it was indeed intense and a lot of work, the rapid introduction to the language served as a great introduction.

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

танысқаныма қуаныштымын: Pleased to meet you/glad to make your acquaintance. This is such an important phrase and used often…which made being able to correctly pronounce it such an experience early on for me!

шай: Tea: Tea is ubiquitous in Kazakhstan.