History and Religious Studies, Languages & Cultures of Asia (MA)
I traveled to India for a research project during my MA. After graduating I worked at the Center for South Asia, taught some courses, and started a family. I currently work as an advisor at the UW-Madison Language Institute.
I was interested in India during my undergraduate study of history and religion, and I thought I should study the language if I wanted to pursue those areas further. I took one Hindi class and loved it! I started Urdu about a year later.
Hindi and Urdu have opened a whole new area in my life that I'd never have otherwise been exposed to. Learning a less-commonly taught language really set me apart as unique on the job market, and it's always amazing to surprise someone at an Indian restaurant by speaking Hindi while I order.
They were smaller and more personal - I made many friends that I'm still in touch with.
I traveled and after that I try to maintain friendships with other speakers, but it's definitely a challenge.
Keep it up! You never know where your language will lead you.