Ashlee DiDomenico is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh double majoring in German and History, with a certificate in Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, as well as Linguistics and Hungarian minors. Below, Ashlee shares her love of studying languages and why she believes everyone should take Hungarian!
Why did you choose Pitt?
I chose Pitt because Pitt offers language classes for less popular languages, like Hungarian and Ukranian. I really wanted to learn these less common languages, and so for me, Pitt was the only real option.
Are you a member of any organizations on campus?
I am President of Pitt Knits, which is a service organization that knits and crochets items and donates them to a local soup kitchen. I'm also a part of an informal Hungarian Club/ Conversation group.
Did you have any previous second-language exposure before coming to Pitt?
I took four years of German in high school, and I know very basic Ukranian and Japanese.
How did you become interested in studying Hungarian?
I knew that it was a language that was very different from other languages and that it was very difficult for English speakers to learn, so I wanted to check it out!
How does studying Hungarian fit into your future plans?
I'm planning to work in an archive, and I'm also considering doing translations and/or interpreting for languages that most people don't take the time to learn (like Hungarian).
What has been your best experience using this language?
There were some native Hungarian students who were here at Pitt, and talking with them when they came to Hungarian Club has been such a positive experience.
What has been your greatest challenge with learning this language?
It really is a difficult language to wrap your mind around, because of how different it is from English. That being said, it's very systematic, and very rewarding when a difficult concept finally clicks.
What has knowing/studying this language allowed you to do that you would not have been able to do otherwise?
I really feel like studying Hungarian has really taught me to push myself further in my studies than I had done before, and I also feel more of a connection with the cultures I encounter in my other classes (like in my history classes). I feel like learning Hungarian has opened doors to study and potential careers that I hadn't even contemplated before.
Any recommendations for students interested in studying Hungarian or another Language?
I recommend to anyone to learn a foreign language, especially Hungarian. (Seriously, ask my classmates, I'm constantly trying to get people to take Hungarian!) I would recommend that you take your time with it, practice at every chance you get, and to not get discouraged when you make mistakes. You're learning more than you think, and it's absolutely worth all the effort!