ENGAGING THE WORLD ONE LANGUAGE AT A TIME

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Language House Hebrew resident Lindsay Uhr.

Language House resident Lindsay Uhr continually broadens her language base to facilitate a career in early childhood education.

Lindsay Uhr is a sophomore pursuing the 5-year combined bachelor’s and master’s program in Early Childhood Special Education. She is a newcomer to the Language House’s Hebrew cluster, but is a devotee of all foreign languages, and plans to expand her knowledge to Spanish, Yiddish, Danish and beyond. Last semester, Uhr took a Yiddish course for the first time, which she recalls as being “really fun.” “I’ve just always wanted to learn Yiddish,” Uhr says. She enjoyed the teacher and the class dynamic, and says, “We just had a lot of fun with it.” She wants to continue her education in Yiddish, but will not stop there. “Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to take Arabic or Russian,” she says.

Uhr has already experienced the benefits that come from speaking multiple languages. Before coming to the University of Maryland, she spent a year studying in Israel and working twice a week at a preschool for blind and visually impaired infants. Part of her job entailed translating between English and Hebrew. “I had to step up my vocabulary skills to find out what was going on,” Uhr recalls. “If I did something wrong, it could be pretty serious.” During that year, she first had the idea of studying early childhood and special education. “I thought I wanted to work with children, but I didn’t want to be a classroom teacher,” Uhr says. “When I went to Israel and looked at the preschool, I thought, ‘Wow, I really want to keep doing this.’ Might as well go to school for it.” Uhr believes that competency in multiple languages will help her better connect with parents of her future students, especially in a region as culturally diverse as the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Currently, Uhr is beginning to learn Danish, as she hopes to study abroad in Denmark through the Maryland-in-Copenhagen program. “I kind of like the fact that it’s not a typical big city that people want to go to,” Uhr says of Copenhagen. “And it’s in Europe, so it’s easy to travel and see other countries as well.”  Uhr hopes to benefit from the numerous courses in education offered by Danish Institute for Study Abroad through the Maryland-in-Copenhagen semester. Until then, she will keep Danish on the list of foreign languages she wants to master. “Almost all the languages offered on the Language House are on that list,” she jokes, referring to the ten target languages of St. Mary’s Hall: Chinese, Arabic, Persian, French, Spanish, Hebrew, Japanese, Italian, German and Russian. Her interests also include some lesser-spoken languages like Irish. “It definitely gives me an understanding of different cultures,” she says of acquiring these new communication skills. “When you’re learning a language, learning about the culture comes with it. It’s very interesting to see the differences and similarities of each culture I learn.”


Samantha Suplee ('14, Spanish Language & Literature and History)
SLLC Public Relations and Media Intern
ssuplee@umd.edu

 

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