Geography Major, Portuguese Major (BA)
Library & Information Studies (MA)
In 2013, after finishing my Masters at the UW School of Library and Information Studies, I worked for a year as an intern at CUNA Mutual Group here in Madison. I spent that year working in their corporate archives and records management department—both directly related to my postgraduate studies. In August 2014, after a very brief time back on the job market, I returned to CUNA Mutual to work as an analyst in the Human Resources department.
Language study has always been, and still is, a passion of mine. By the time I was 20 years old, I had studied German, French, Russian, Arabic, and a smattering of other languages. The process of learning and studying these languages was exhilarating. I left post-secondary education behind without finishing a degree, and I worked full time. I regretted having never “mastered” any of the languages that I had started to learn sooner than I decided to return to school.
By the time I enrolled in the Portuguese Intensive Summer Institute in 2009, I had already been teaching myself Portuguese for well over a decade. Originally inspired by the beauty of the Brazilian music and my desire to start a new project, I quickly fell in love with Portuguese (and with Brazil) to a degree that I never had with another language (or culture).
Through my study of Portuguese I have met friends, travelled and had adventures, learned new ways of seeing the world, and generally had an enormous amount of fun. I’ve also gotten job interviews that I wouldn’t have otherwise and earned academic awards. More than anything else, though, speaking, reading, and living with Portuguese has changed who I am as a person.
The Portuguese department at UW–Madison is exceptional. Not only are the instructors of the very highest quality, but there is never a shortage of cultural, academic, and social activities to take advantage of. I am still a frequent participant at many of these events; it’s one of the reasons that I wanted to stay in Madison after graduating.
My language skills have atrophied some since graduating, but I did travel to Brazil this year and continue to read, listen to music and news radio, and stay in contact with many Portuguese speaking members of the community.
Incorporate a language into your life and it will pay dividends forever. Do it for the reasons that make sense to your interests, not for employment or earning potential.