The University of Iowa

In the news: Brings Plenty: Language communities are uncommon yet strong

February 26th, 2019

By Maleaha Brings Plenty, The Daily Iowan

I am an English, creative-writing, and Russian major at the University of Iowa. I started teaching myself Russian when I was 14, but once I reached the grammar portion of the language, I quit because it was too difficult. However, the desire to learn this language still remained. I felt very stuck and frustrated learning it on my own, but when I registered for classes at the UI, I was ecstatic to see Russian as an option. I signed up for a Russian class without thinking about the fact that I already had all of my language credits required to earn my degree. I was excited about the opportunity to learn the language.

Once the class started, I made friends instantly. My professor made us do exercises in which we would go around the class and talk to as many people as possible. She wanted to foster friendships in the class, as she knew we’d all enroll in the same classes together for the next four years. Almost all of the friends I hang out with today I met through Russian class. I don’t know where I’d be without these friendships. Transitioning to college is a lonely process, but being in a language class gave me a sense of community from day 1.

Having the same class with someone for four years is a sure-fire way to ensure that you will be close. Not only do we have the same language classes for four years, but we also have other major-related courses for those of us who major in either the language, linguistics, or international relations. Being in such close quarters with someone for so long is a great way to become very close.