Madeline R.

Languages: Turkish, French

Majors: Physical Geography, Cartography/GIS, Languages and Cultures of Asia

Graduation Year: 2015

Current Location: Hampton, VA

What have you done since graduating from UW-Madison?

I am currently participating in the NASA Develop National Program’s summer term where I will be part of a team that conducts research using satellite data to solve an ecological problem. My plans for after completing this 10-week program are very open, but I hope to continue to work in a job related to environmental research.

What motivated you to study these languages?

I took French my freshman year as a continuation from high school, and I really enjoyed jumping into the language at college level! My motivation for studying Turkish was very sudden. I decided that I really wanted to take a language that wasn’t commonly taught, and after researching Istanbul while watching the 2010 Basketball World Cup, I decided to take Turkish! Azeri was an added bonus that I was able to learn during 5th and 6th semester Turkish classes!

How have these languages enriched your life!

These languages have greatly enriched my life! Not only did they allow me to learn about many different cultures in multiple regions of the world, but I was also able to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s 2014 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). I intensively studied Turkish in Ankara, Turkey for 10 weeks with CLS, and it was a great experience that allowed me to greatly improve my language skills! After completing the program, I became an alumni ambassador and I help advertise the program and help both applicants and finalists! Learning the language both at UW-Madison and abroad helped me grow as a person, and I truly believe that my dedication to learning languages has helped me get opportunities both related to language learning and in seemingly non-related fields like environmental research!

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

My language classes were some of my favorite classes at UW-Madison! They were very different from my other classes because there was a very small class size so you were really able to ask questions and really get to know your professors!

How valuable were your out-of-classroom experiences?

I was able to study abroad in Turkey through the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship Program. It was extremely valuable because I was able to greatly improve my language skills and especially improve my speaking abilities. Also, it was amazing to be immersed in the language and culture that I had studied for 6 semesters!

How have you maintained or improved your languages since graduation?

I use Twitter and Facebook to keep up-to-date with Turkish news stories and speak Turkish with my friends. I am also currently starting to read Harry Potter in Turkish, so that is a fun challenge!

What advice do you have for current language students?

Try to get the most out of your language courses by connecting with your professors and looking for opportunities outside of class to read and speak your languages that you are studying. In addition, look for opportunities that will allow you to study abroad either through UW-Madison or another program! Being immersed in the language is incredibly valuable and fun!

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

Görüşürüz (“See you later.” It’s a fun word to pronounce!)