Stephanie T.

Language: Norwegian

Majors: English and Scandinavian Studies

Graduation Year: 2008

Current Location: Madison, WI

What have you done since graduating from UW-Madison?

I leveraged my two majors from the UW (English and Scandinavian Studies) to be placed in a pseudo-internship with TetraTech (formally PA Consulting) that eventually translated into a full-time position with the company. The Madison branch of TetraTech provides third-party evaluations in the energy sector, via market research. As an Associate, I was responsible for a myriad of things, including literary, quantitative, and qualitative analyses; budget management; program evaluation; project management; secondary research’ survey design and administration; and proposal response. Unfortunately for me, I had to leave my job due to a debilitating medical issue. So, now I spend most of my time writing, painting, hand-making journals, and snuggling with my cats.

What motivated you to study this language?

Literature and creative writing have always been a passion of mine, so studying English at UW seemed like the right decision. My grandparents had found old letters from family in Norway that they wanted translated and I decided to take Norwegian to assist them in that goal. I ended up loving the Scandinavian Studies classes. I found it to be like a little family! And through these classes I found new perspectives that really enriched my life.

How have these classes enriched your life?

Norwegian has enriched my life in so many ways! Not only did I make life-long friends, I also met my husband! Talk about a cool ‘how’d you meet’ story. Studying Norwegian also gave me the opportunity to go to Norway as a traveler rather than a tourist. Visiting other countries helps one gain a better understanding of the world, and being able to speak the local language allows for more in-depth discoveries and friendships to blossom.

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

I absolutely loved the more intimate setting of the classes and having continuity in both classmates and teachers from semester to semester was something not easily achieved in other areas of study.

How valuable were your out-of-classroom experiences?

The extracurricular language organizations, such as regular lunches where we all practiced conversational speaking, really helped me advance my abilities, as well as provided additional opportunities to meet new people (i.e. networking). At the end of the day, the relationships I made via Scandinavian Studies have helped me way beyond college. I’ll always be grateful for following through on my decision to learn Norwegian.

How have you maintained or improved your language since graduation?

My husband and I have friends in Norway and we try to keep up our abilities for our trips, though speaking a language that is only used by about five million people can be hard to maintain. It’s also a lovely way to talk about secret things in from of my family! It drives them crazy (in a good way)!

What advice do you have for current language students?

Find what you love and pursue it; the rest will fall into place. Be open to new ideologies and people and you’ll be amazed by the opportunities that come your way.

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

My favorite word, for whatever reason, is “paraply.” It means umbrella. I just love the way it sounds.