Story written by Miranda Meyer, IEM/MPA, ’18
Spanish and I have a love/hate relationship. Some days I absolutely love listening to it, speaking it, and thinking about it. Other days, I struggle to come up with words, my pronunciation is terrible, and if I hear one more song in Spanish I want to scream.
Story written by Erika Quinonez, IEM, ’17
My fascination with Brazilian culture began long before I started to learn Portuguese in a formal setting. I had a profound interest in the rhythm of the language, particularly when it came to Brazilian music and poetry. There were always classic Brazilian records playing on the turntable in my house while I was growing up, yet no one in my family spoke Portuguese.
Story taken from interview with Elizabeth, NPTS, ’17; Written by K.Throgmorton
Elizabeth started her language journey with a high school student exchange program to Marbella, Spain. In that small coastal town, she learned Spanish through immersion in the culture and was able to gain proficiency in the language otherwise unattainable through classroom learning.
Story written by Ling Juan, IPD, ’18
Growing up in Taiwan, Mandarin was my first language. My first encounters with Korean were watching Korean dramas with my grandmother as a child. Learning Korean was naturally fun to me as a beginner; the pronunciation of Hanja is similar to Chinese and the spelling is alphabetic like English.
Story written by Julia Diamond, NPTS, ’17
For me, Russian language has been a key to answering many questions about the relationship between Russian and Soviet societies and their domestic and foreign policies. Aside from always having a Russian gymnastics coach and ballet teachers, I became especially motivated to learn Russian after participating in a Russian ballet summer intensive in 2009. While we found ways to communicate, I always wanted to be able to understand and speak their language to discover what to me were secrets of their culture and outlook.
Story by Matt Levie, MPA, ’18
When I was young, every day after school I would take the bus all the way across New York City to the Mid-Manhattan Library downtown, because on the third floor they had language textbooks. At my school there was a pretty good language program; you could learn French, Spanish, German or Latin, but I was fascinated by exotic languages that people don’t usually learn in American schools. I dabbled in Romanian, Welsh, Japanese, Swahili and Russian.
Story by Noah Mayhew, Dual degree NPTS (MIIS/MGIMO), ’18
I started learning to speak Russian in kind of an ironic, organic fashion. I met my best friend during my first year of college and she was born in a small town in the Smolensk region of Russia.
Story written by Seth Joyner, IEM, ’17
I grew up “mixed.” Whatever that means, right? My background in language learning comes from a Quebecois grandmother who spoke French and instilled a sense of pride in me for the language, while my mother, who had refused to learn French growing up, spoke to me in English.