Claudia Torres-Giraldo


Please introduce yourself to prospective students!

Привет! My name is Claudia. I was born in Peru, but I moved to Chicago when I was 7-years-old. I am currently a junior, majoring in Russian and political science and getting a certificate in Chicano Latino Studies. The Russian Flagship Program was one of the main reasons I came to UW-Madison because I knew I wanted to continue studying Russian like I did in high school.  In my free time, I am usually watching Netflix, eating at Paul’s Pelmeni or at Estacion Inka, walking around campus, playing my prima domra or flute, and reading Russian literature!

How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?

I joined the Russian Flagship Program during the second semester of my first year at UW-Madison. My language skills have improved. When I started the program, I knew I wanted to develop better conversational skills. The tutoring sessions every week have helped me become a more confident speaker. I still make mistakes, but I am more aware of them than I was before. This program has helped me so much in my language journey!

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?

My favorite part of the program is the community. Every person that I have met has been very supportive of each other. I love that this is a very close community where we can share our fears and concerns as well as our accomplishments. This program has provided a safe environment where it is okay to make mistakes because that is the only way to learn, especially when it comes to language. This is an experience that I know I will never forget!

Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?

Reaching a professional level of proficiency in Russian is very important to me. As a native speaker of Spanish, I know how language brings people together and creates a very inclusive community. I currently do not know what I want to do with my life after college, but I know for sure that I want to use Russian. As a Pushkin Scholar, I would like to reach a high level of proficiency, which could give me the opportunity to teach Russian, especially in a high school program like the one that gave me so many opportunities and a family.

What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?

What you put into this program is what you get out! The Russian Flagship Program will challenge you and lead you to success. I know that this program can be intimidating, but there are many advisors here to support you. This is an intensive program, but you are not alone. There are many students who went or will be going through the same struggle. Russian is not easy, but it does not mean it cannot be fun!