Ifadha Sifar

Credentials: 2022 WISLI Intermediate Tamil Student

WISLI Facebook Icon

Language Institute and Level: SASLI / Intermediate Tamil

Why did you choose to study a language through WISLI? What attracted you to our program specifically?

So, I am a history student actually and so my research involves working in a couple of languages. Tamil is one of my research languages and so my advisor is actually the person that recommended that I look into SASLI, which is now part WISLI. That is how I came to know WISLI.

How has studying a less commonly taught language enriched your life?

Personally, because my extended family speaks Tamil as well, it’s obviously really been helpful. Being able to understand more of what they say and also being able to communicate with them more easily. So that is one of the personal benefits that I’ve enjoyed. My main reason is to be able to work with these languages and work with Tamil while researching.

What makes studying a language at WISLI/UW-Madison unique to you?

I really enjoyed getting to know my peers in my Tamil class and also in the wider SASLI class. I have hung out with a few people in the SEASSI classes as well. So that I think has just been really nice to talk to scholars studying different things and different languages, and for those studying Tamil as well, to just get to chat with them.

How do you plan to use the language you’re learning in your personal/professional journey?

In terms of my personal journey, I am already able to speak more Tamil with my extended family members, which is great. Professionally, I am hoping to start proper archivable research this coming year. So as much as I can learn before then is always great, so I can go in with a somewhat decent foundation in Tamil.

What are you most looking forward to in your language program? (Event highlights)

Well, we had a Bollywood movie afternoon/evening (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge), where we got to hang out with people from the other SASLI classes as well, and had some tea and samosa to just chill. In general, I have been enjoying the film screenings. Some of them are heavier films and so I lean more towards the lighter ones for more engagement.

What has been the impact of the  WISLI Tuition Scholarship for you?  What would you say to other students who might be interested in applying for the scholarship?

For me, it has been incredibly impactful because I wouldn’t have been able to attend this program otherwise. So I am very grateful to have received the WISLI tuition scholarship. In terms of what I would say to other people thinking about applying would be to definitely apply. It’s great. It’s been a really fulfilling experience. I already feel a lot more comfortable speaking Tamil. It’s been nice to be able to meet other people also interested in the language. It’s a fun way to spend your summer. Madison is great, I have been enjoying the cheese curds as well.

Do you have any advice for students who are studying the same language as you?

I don’t think that I am in any position to give advice but I think just regularly practice the four skills, find ways to make it fun, cater it towards your interests as much as possible and be patient with yourself. I think its inevitable that you will hit a language plateau at some point during the course or during your language learning experience. It’s normal. Power through. Stick with it and hopefully, fingers crossed, it will be better on the other side.

What is your favorite word/phrase/proverb in your language?

One that stuck with me because it is the first proverb that I was exposed to in Tamil when I first started learning is “மாடு மறுபுறம் பசுமையானது“, which translates to, the grass is always greener on the other side.