Vera Swanson still remembers registering for her first semester of fall classes in 2012. Now as a graduated UW alumna, Swanson looks back fondly on her enrollment in an introductory Russian course. After all, this course set a precedent for the rest of her time at UW and beyond.
The 23-year-old recent graduate recalls her freshman decision to enroll in introductory Russian with pride. Although unaware of it at the time, the decision would set her down a path of language learning on campus and overseas. As she soon fell in love with the language, she began to pursue it further and became a part of the Russian Flagship Program.
“The intimate class sizes and wealth of opportunities to spend time with my classmates and instructors make the Russian Flagship Program at UW-Madison truly remarkable,” Swanson said in an email.
The opportunities through the Russian Flagship Program that Swanson speaks so highly of helped her secure a position representing the United States as a Student Ambassador at the World Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan, in summer 2017. The application process for student ambassadors was extremely competitive; Swanson was one of just 40 students selected nationally for the program. The Expo’s theme of “Future Energy: Reducing CO2 emissions, living energy efficiency and energy for all” paired perfectly with Swanson’s double major combination of Russian and Environmental Sciences and her certificate in Environmental Studies.