Major and year of graduation: Communication Arts and Scandinavian Studies, May 2011
Current City: Stockholm, Sweden
I feel passionate about: my future and achieving success.
Languages I have taken at UW-Madison: French and Swedish.
Why did you choose those particular languages? I wanted to try something new in French and thought it would be useful. My family is from Sweden and Norway, and I loved my first year in Swedish so I continued!
What do you remember about your UW-Madison language classes? It goes without saying that the language courses were more interactive than larger lectures. But looking back now, even three years since graduation, I remember the language courses being so much more personal. All of the instructors really cared if you were learning, and pushed participation. I used to be a pretty shy person and studying a language pushes you out of your comfort zone (in a good way)!
What have you done since graduating from UW-Madison? In June of 2011, I moved to my home state of Minnesota and lived in Minneapolis while working at a bank. This wasn't my ideal position but it was difficult to find a job that suited my interests with my broad academic background. I have always wanted to live abroad on my own, and while I was only in Stockholm for one day on a Baltic Cruise that was a wonderful graduation present from a relative, I fell in love with the city and knew I wanted to end up there. Luckily, the Stockholm University International Masters Program in Media and Communications was exactly what I was looking for.
Where do you currently work and what do you do there? I am currently a Masters student at Stockholm University. I have lived here since August of 2012 and will be completing my two-year international Masters Program in Media and Communications in June of 2014. I also teach English in an after school program at elementary schools around Stockholm, and am a part-time English nanny and tutor for a Swedish family of four children.
What has studying that language meant to you? How has it enriched your life, whether personally, academically or professionally? Studying Swedish has not only enriched my life but has become a central part of my life, and I love it. I have been in Stockholm for over a year now, and I love that I am pretty much fluent in the language. It is such a cool feeling to experience the culture on a first-hand basis (of course there is the occasional faux pas) and communicate with native people. It is also really neat to see the U.S. from a different perspective; I have learned to appreciate things about the country itself and the English language that I had not thought about before.
While you were a student, did you have opportunities to use your language outside of the classroom? I occasionally went to the Swedish talking table. I love Scandinavian movies so it was cool to learn Swedish and see how subtitles differ from what was said, and learn new phrases. I also regularly visited the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. And now I use Swedish all of the time, of course.
A good book I just read: In Cold Blood
My favorite UW-Madison moment: Tie: Seeing Obama speak in Library Mall, or the epic snowball fight/snow day of 2009
A memorable UW-Madison language class experience: Watching and talking about the super-dramatic Andra Avenyn soap in third year.
My favorite living or historical figure: Nelson Mandela.
My favorite word in a language I know is: gift (homonym in Swedish; means both marriage/poison. Not only humorous but fits well with culture...)