Department of French and Italian

College of Letters & Science
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Rebekah S.

Major(s) and Certificate(s): 

International Relations

Graduation Year: 
1999
Current city: 
Madison
Current state/province/country (if outside US): 
WI
What have you done since graduating from UW-Madison?: 

I've worked in International Sales Administration, lived and worked in Israel, participated in Advertising and Marketing, worked in the financial industry in Relationship Management and with Philanthropy as Director of Development for the UW Foundation.

Language(s): 
What motivated you to study this/these languages?: 

My geographic areas of interest and general interest in languages, foreign cultures, travel, poetry, and literature.

How have these languages enriched your life?: 

These languages have enriched my life with the opportunity to communicate with others who do not speak my native tongue. Studying other languages broadens my own pool of knowledge on many levels and deepens my understanding and appreciation for language, its usage, its application in publications of all kinds and its influence in history, society and culture. Language affects how the world is perceived, describes all aspects of human existence and reflects generational attitudes and emotion. Understanding multiple languages sensitizes one to multiple layers of the human experience.

How valuable were your out-of-classroom experiences?: 

Study abroad impacted my life permanently. I could attempt to convey the immense value I place on the experience of studying abroad and never come close to fully succeeding. When something impacts you on such a grand and complicated, sophisticated and complex scale, simplicity is always the best form of expression: I encourage every student to study abroad.

How have you maintained or improved your language(s) since graduation?: 

Each of my languages have been utilized since graduation. French and Arabic less than English and Hebrew, but I speak each daily, at least a little.

What advice do you have for current language students?: 

Soak in as much as you possibly can. Leap towards any opportunity to communicate with others who speak the languages you study. Visit homes, share meals, interact with the children, sit with the elderly.
I noticed two simple advantages in learning and practicing the languages I was learning: I could sit with the elderly and infirm and practice the language - they appreciated the visit and had patience with my developing aptitude for the language. The other advantage was practicing my language on children. They would laugh and immediately correct any mistakes and repeat over and over the correct pronunciation until I could say it correctly, too

What is your favorite word or phrase in a language you know?: 
Yalla Imshich - "let's go!" or "get a move on!" (Arabic)