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Getting to Know the Classroom Support Student Staff

The Language Center's Classroom Support staff consists of ten student workers this fall. Here are short self-introductions from the new and returning student staff.

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Keerthana Shankar

Allo! My name is Keerthana. I am Indian by nationality but was born in Saudi Arabia, and I'm majoring in Asian Language and Literature with a focus on Korean. I speak a south Indian language called Tamil with my family. I am trying to learn Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Vietnamese, and Spanish. Although my parents are from India, we've only visited India a few times. In my free time, I love to do digital art pieces. I also participate in various martial arts. This year, I am on the board of the Minnesota International Student Association as well as the Indian Student Association, so I would love to see you at our events!

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Kevin Vrla

Bom dia! My name is Kevin and I am a Linguistic major and Portuguese studies minor senior here at the University. I greatly enjoy learning about other languages. I currently speak Spanish and Portuguese with good proficiency and am working on developing my French skills. I have not done much traveling, but I did travel to Brazil when I was in high school and plan on being in Portugal this coming spring. When I'm not satisfying my linguistic curiosity (of various languages from around the world), I spend most of my time reading, playing music, or watching movies.

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Brandon Adams

Shalom! I'm Brandon, a senior double-majoring in English and Jewish Studies here at the U. I'm back at the Language Center for my final year of school after studying in Jerusalem last spring. During my adventure I visited all over Israel, as well as Jordan and the Netherlands. I have studied Modern Hebrew for some time now, and I am still working on fluency, but my confidence has gone up after spending time where it's spoken daily! Living abroad and speaking to people from all over the world taught me more than any class ever can. I'm always considering where I want to visit next, who I will meet, and what I will learn!

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Anna Sisombat

Bonjour! I'm Anna, and I'm currently a French major. I recently transferred from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN, which is my hometown. I know 3 languages: English, Laotian, and French. I grew up in a Laotian family and started studying French in high school. Two summers ago, I had the privilege of traveling to France for three weeks with my classmates. I had an amazing time there and can't wait to go back again! In my spare time, I love to play phone games or video games on the Xbox, explore the Twin Cities and try new food, or play my guitar and violin.

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Jessica Troyan

Hola! I'm Jessica, and I am a senior studying English, Spanish and Technical Communications. I will be graduating this December and hope to get a job in the publishing field. I can speak a little Portuguese, and I am fluent in Spanish. I was lucky enough to study abroad in Toledo the summer before my junior year. I have traveled to France, Spain, Italy, and Mexico, and I love being able to try new foods and experience different cultures. I enjoy reading, going for walks outside, and cooking.

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Amber Davidson

Hi, everyone! My name is Amber, and I'm a sophomore majoring in History with a minor in Spanish Studies. I grew up near Detroit Lakes, a small town in northern Minnesota. This is my second semester in Classroom Support here at the Language Center. I took Spanish throughout high school, and I'm continuing my studies in Spanish here at the U. I love learning the language and about the different cultures in which it is spoken, and my future plans include traveling all across Latin America. In fact, I'm planning to study abroad in Argentina within the next year. I'm also taking American Sign Language for the first time this semester, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it! In my free time I love to read, listen to music, play my guitar, and spend time with my family.

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Molly Schloesser

Hey, everyone! I'm Molly and I'm going to be graduating in May (hopefully!). I'm double-majoring in Early Childhood Education and Family Social Science. I have worked at the Language Center in Classroom Support for about two years now. I am not currently studying any languages at the U, but I took three years of Spanish in high school. I have had a few opportunities to travel outside of the country. About three years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to France and Spain with some of my classmates for about two weeks. It was a short trip and we did not get to spend much time in each of the three cities we went to (Paris, Barcelona and Madrid), but it was an experience I will never forget! I also had the privilege of traveling to South Africa during winter break my sophomore year. I lived in Cape Town for about a month and did some service learning there. Other than traveling, my hobbies include horseback riding, reading, watching movies, and looking at videos of cute puppies on YouTube.

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Carissa Polo

Ciao! I'm Carissa, and I am studying Journalism with a Spanish minor. I've been studying Spanish for about nine years now, and I decided to switch things up this year by taking courses to also learn Italian! Languages fascinate me, and I've made it a goal to be conversationally proficient in at least five languages by the time I leave college, which means I also try to keep up with French and Portuguese when I have time outside of classes. I have a love for traveling, and I'm planning on studying abroad in either France, Spain, or Australia within the next year. I'm only a sophomore, but I've already made plans to backpack through Italy during the summer after I graduate. In my free time I manage and write for my own blog, attend concerts, figure skate, watch copious amounts of Netflix, and cry over cute puppies.

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Lauren Otto

¡Hola! I'm Lauren, and right now I'm planning to major in English with a minor in Spanish, but I'm also very interested in Global Studies and Cultural Studies, so we'll see where that takes me. I love to travel and experience new places and cultures, and I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new things. I left the United States for the first time this last summer when I went on a mission trip to Honduras, which made me very excited to either study abroad or participate in service learning/ volunteering abroad. I hope to eventually set foot on every continent--hopefully even Antarctica. I obviously enjoy reading and writing in my spare time, along with listening to and playing jazz (I play trumpet), playing volleyball, and spending time with friends and family.

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Alli Shaw

Hello! My name is Alli and I am a junior here at the U of M. I am a Psychology B.A. major with a minor in Statistics, and I hope to eventually obtain my masters degree in Occupational Therapy. I am currently studying American Sign Language and absolutely love it. I have also previously studied Spanish for six years and cannot wait to put it to use when I study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the spring semester of this school year. I love to travel and experience new things and cannot wait for my adventure! I am a huge soccer fan and love to play in my free time. I also enjoy snowboarding, playing the piano, and spending time with friends and family.

Welcome Back Caroline!

Caroline Vang has returned from her parental leave and is back in her office at at the Language Center. We are all very pleased to have Caroline back and also grateful for the support we received from Jenny Boe and Beth Dillard Paltrineri during Caroline's leave. We simply couldn't have survived the start of the academic year and the launch of the PACE program without them!

Here is a short update from Caroline:

Hello! It's great to be back at the Language Center. Thank you for all the encouragement and warm congrats for Michael, our new baby boy. He's growing really fast (weighing in at 11 pounds, maybe more). He's an alert boy and tries to interact with you through his gurgles and coos. Really cute :) So far, he's been a pretty easy baby. Thank you again for your support while I was on leave this past month!

TandemPlus Bowling Night at Goldy's Gameroom

Go bowling with TandemPlus on Friday, October 24, 2014, starting at 3:30 p.m. at Goldy's Gameroom in Coffman Memorial Union.

All current TandemPlus participants (partnered or not) are welcome to come. Bowling shoes are free, and TandemPlus will provide some appetizers and will pay for the first game.

Join us, chat with new and old friends in your first and second languages, chow on snacks, and knock down some pins!

For more information about the Bowling Night or registration, contact Tandem at tandem@umn.edu.

TandemPlus Kicks Off!

TandemPlus is off to a great start this fall. The orientation kick-off event on September 24, 2014 was quite a success. With around 60 participants, the event was lively, fun, and many languages could be heard at once, including English, Arabic, Korean, Norwegian, Spanish, and Portuguese. Participants met new friends, played games, shared stories, snacked on food, and learned more about the program.

Get ready for more Fall events! TandemPlus is hosting a bowling night at Goldy's Gameroom on October 24 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., and a pizza party at Punch in Stadium Village on December 3 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Look for more information about these events in upcoming issues of ElsieTalk, or check the TandemPlus website.

TandemPlus registration for Fall Semester closes this Friday, October 10, so anyone interested in a second-language conversation partner should register soon.

Getting to Know the Main Office Student Staff

Who are the students working at the front desk in Jones Hall 110 this semester? Here are short self-introductions from the new and returning Language Center Main Office student staff. Chloe-(1).jpg

Chloe Gansen

I'm Chloe, and I'm currently a senior. I'm originally from Janesville, Wisconsin, which is just south of Madison. I'm studying Journalism with a minor in Public Health. I took French throughout high school and then again my sophomore and junior years at the U, finishing 1004 last spring. Outside of school, I really enjoy being active; I love to run and swim and hope to get started doing triathlons some day.

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Chris Michaels

Hello, everyone. I'm Chris Michaels from Monticello, MN. My major is Journalism with a Professional Strategic Communication focus. I've been studying Japanese for a few years now, and after what feels like a million years of rescheduling my trip for various reasons, I plan to study abroad in Tokyo next fall. I am also taking my first Korean class this semester. Hobbies of mine include playing and watching sports, listening to music, and watching Japanese comedies.

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Dimitra Andreadaki

I'm originally from Rochester, Minnesota. I'm currently double-majoring in Biology, Society, and the Environment along with Global Studies with a minor in public health. My native languages are English and Greek, but I am currently studying Spanish and have studied Latin in the past. My hobbies include playing the piano, and my favorite author is Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

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Fatima Babu

My name is Fatima, and this will be my fourth year at the Language Center. I was born in Framingham, MA but I grew up in South Minneapolis. I am currently a senior majoring in Political Science and Global Studies. I studied Spanish in high school, and I also just finished studying Arabic here at the U! I love traveling and experiencing new environments! Currently my life has been taken over by school and work, but when I do have spare time I love to spend time with my friends and family!

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Hunter Slack

I'm Hunter. I'm originally from White Bear Lake, MN and I'm a junior studying Marketing and Design. This is my third year at the Language Center. I studied Spanish through high school and got through Spanish 3015 my freshman year. Outside of work and school, I play in two bands (guitar in one, vocals in the other) and run a non-profit organization called MaintaiN, which promotes the local MN music scene to those unfamiliar with its existence.

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Maya Christensen

Hi, everyone! I'm a sophomore studying Urban Studies and Youth Studies. I'm from Minneapolis, and my family lives about 10 minutes away from campus, right by Lake Harriet. I've studied Spanish since seventh grade and hope to learn more languages in my lifetime. I love being active and being outside, so biking and running are things you will see me doing often!

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Nick Ott

I'm Nick Ott from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I'm a sophomore here at the U. This is my second year at the Language Center. Since high school, I have formally studied both Spanish and German but have learned German informally from my mother since I was young. I have always loved learning foreign languages, although my favorite by far is the German language. That's why I have recently decided to major in it, along with Marketing. Outside of work, I am involved in the University YMCA and am training to compete in my first triathlon!

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Rachael Falade

I grew up in Woodbury, Minnesota. I am a sophomore hoping to major in Nutrition with a minor in Yoruba! Although I love English, I have also studied Spanish in high school and currently study Yoruba (a language native to Nigeria). I basically love everything, especially food!

Shoua Thao

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Hello, everyone! My name is Shoua Thao. I started working in the Language Center in spring semester of 2014. I was born in Minneapolis but currently reside in Brooklyn Center, MN. I am a junior this year studying Mass Communication, Political Science, and Design. I studied Korean my first year here at the U and followed on to take my LPE in Hmong, passing towards the end of the term. I love to be and stay active, so I play a lot of sports. One huge thing I did a lot this past summer--other than work extensively--was playing football with my team called Bellatrix. We competed in Hmong Festival Tournaments in July and August and got 2nd place for both. I also got on board as an Outreach Co-chair for the Hmong Minnesota Student Association student organization 2014-15 here at the University, so I met a lot with my fellow board members as well.


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