Please introduce yourself to prospective students!
Hello! My name is Kate, and I’m a junior at UW-Madison studying Russian and regional studies (Russian, Eastern European, Central Asian, and South Asian). I transferred here from New College of Florida, mainly for the Russian Flagship Program! I love learning languages, and in addition to Russian, I study Spanish, Urdu, and Hindi. When I’m not in class, I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee on the university team and finding new study spots with good tea and coffee! I am currently learning to play the domra (a Russian string instrument) with the Russian Folk Orchestra.
How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?
I entered the Russian Flagship Program after one semester of Russian during my first year on campus. I feel it’s sometimes hard to judge your progress in a language, since it’s always challenging and there is always more to learn, but looking back, I’d say the progress that I’ve made so far has been enormous. I’ve gone from knowing nothing to being able to have extended conversations with native speakers. I would say the resources available to us are really just unparalleled. Tutoring, especially, is a great judgement-free space to get out of your comfort zone, work on concepts that you’re having a hard time with, and try implementing them in conversation.
What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?
I’ve always wanted to learn Russian and started with being around some of our close Russian family friends as a kid. One of the things I like best about the Russian Flagship is the community that comes with it – I’ve met many of my friends though the program! I also love how the administrative team works to make the program as flexible as possible, to suit your goals and the goals of the program. As a transfer student and someone who also studies other languages, this is a huge benefit!
Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?
My main motivation for learning Russian to a professional level of proficiency is as basic as being able to communicate with more people and to better understand Russian culture. I am excited to someday read the classics of Russian literature in their original form! I also aspire to eventually work for either an embassy or federal agency, in which case fluency in Russian would be a major asset.
What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?
Go for it! The essence of the Russian Flagship Program does a great job of bringing together highly motivated students who are tight-knit and mutually supportive. Russian is challenging to learn, and this is a challenging program, but it does come with everything you need, and you will learn faster than you might think possible – all you need to supply is motivation and commitment!