Madiha Jamal – From Urdu-lish to People-Focused Policy-Making (Urdu)

Graduate Programs, International Environmental Policy

Story taken from interview with Madiha, IEP, ’18; Written by K.Throgmorton

Madiha grew up listening and speaking Urdu with her parents and oldest brother. Urdu is a connection for her family to where they come from, her family history and background is rooted in a culture and traditions from a different place. Language is her way of connecting with that culture and family history – it acts as a bridge.

Miranda Meyer – Spanish and Me: A Love/Hate Relationship (Spanish)

International Education Management, Master of Public Administration

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.

Erika Quinonez – Embrace Discomfort, Stay Calm (Portuguese)

International Education Management

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.

Elizabeth Anderson – Pieces of the Puzzle (Spanish, Arabic)

All Student Stories, Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies

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.

Ling Juan – More in Common Than I Thought (Korean, Chinese)

All Student Stories

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.

Julia Diamond – New Ways of Thinking and Understanding (Russian)

All Student Stories, Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies

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.

Matt Levie – Not a Spy, Not James Bond: It’s about making connections (Russian)

All Student Stories, Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies

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.