Liesel is a 4th year student, majoring in Art History with a minor in World Language Studies. She has been recipient of many awards at Queen's, including The Chernoff Family Award, Gordon & Myrtle Adams Scholarship, and the Wallace Near Prize In Art History. Liesel has been on Dean's Honour List with Distinction since her first year. She chose to minor in World Language Studies because of the need to communicate with people of different cultural backgrounds:
"I decided to pursue a LANG degree because I wanted to be able to bridge cultures and communicate with people who might come from very different contexts than I do. Initially, it was very personal: I wanted to learn Italian, so that I could speak to my dad's family and understand a little more about my Italian heritage. Recently, I've also started working on Spanish, which I chose because it is so commonly spoken by people on this continent.
I love the methodical nature of language learning. As an art history major, I write a lot of essays. Reviewing vocab and verb endings is a nice shift of pace, even though memorizing minute grammatical rules (and all their exceptions) can make my eyes cross over sometimes. The practical side of languages is also rewarding -- the thrill of being able to speak with someone from another culture in their own tongue never gets old. Italian has also been useful as a cross-over with my major, especially when Renaissance art comes up in my courses.
My professors have all been absolutely lovely -- they were really encouraging and engaging, and each, in their own way, have lively senses of humour which made class really fun to attend. As a pretty shy person, I appreciated the supportive atmosphere that each of them worked to create in class. They all really cared about their students and would put in time to help us understand the material.
Since first year, I've also been involved in the English Conversation Program at QUIC, and for two semesters I was also a Language Buddy (so I helped a student practice conversational English one-on-one). I would recommend it to anyone, but for a LANG student it's especially interesting -- bringing my own experience as a language learner to the program helped me to better assist the program participants, and seeing their dedication and progress really encouraged me to keep at my own studies. Plus it's super fun, and I've definitely made some really good friends through it!
I was also lucky to travel to Italy one summer. Navigating an immersive environment as a language learner was both incredibly helpful (although I know it's not within everyone's means), and absolutely terrifying. My language buddy and I talked about it a lot when I returned -- it gave me a much better basis for understanding, practically, what it might be like for someone who has arrived in my own country. I hope that these experiences have also helped me to be better able to support newcomers here.
Going forward, I will definitely continue to use the things that I've learned in my LANG minor in my career and personal life. As far as career goes, I'm still considering a few different post-undergrad paths. One is to study to become an architect, with a focus on the cross-over of heritage preservation and green retrofitting. In that case, I hope that my background in languages will help me to learn from and collaborate with designers from different parts of the world. Alternately, if I pursue graduate studies in art history, having a second (and third!) language will be really useful in terms of admissions, and depending on my focus will very probably be of great practical use too. And personally, of course, learning Italian has given me a tool to connect with my heritage, which is something that I will be exploring and building on for the rest of my life."