At Delingua, we want to do something positive and support young students. As we believe that future talents should be encouraged even before they enter post-secondary education, we decided we would award scholarships to a couple of highly accomplished language students. We awarded a scholarship to Sonja Roo, newly graduated from Helsinki Upper Secondary School of Languages, for her exceptional performance in language studies.
We interviewed Sonja about her language studies and future plans.
Which languages did you study in upper secondary school and why?
In upper secondary school, in addition to English and Swedish, I studied German, Russian and Spanish. I wanted to study multiple languages during my time in upper secondary school in order to have an extensive language base for further development of my language skills later on. I saw the language offering at my upper secondary school as an opportunity to familiarise myself with multiple languages, in which I could then deepen my proficiency after graduation by travelling, for example. To learn the basics of Spanish, I took only two courses. However, during my trip to Spain two weeks ago, I noticed how easy it was for me to naturally learn the language once the structure of it was already familiar to me.
Why are you so interested in languages?
When you’re in a foreign country, knowing the local language gives you an opportunity to understand the local culture and way of thinking in a whole new way, which is why I’m drawn to languages. It’s also extremely interesting to compare the structures of different languages with regard to both their similarities and differences. To me, it feels like the more languages I’ve studied, the easier it becomes to start learning a new one. I don’t have to start from zero but rather can directly compare the new language to the languages I already know.
How has speaking languages benefitted you in your life?
I have already benefitted greatly from speaking multiple languages. My extensive language skills have resulted in job opportunities, friendships, contacts and experiences that would simply not have come about had I not had my knowledge of languages. As my dream is to be able to see the world, both in connection with my studies and otherwise, I believe that my language skills will prove to be a significant asset for me, especially in the future.
What future plans do you have when it comes to your studies and work? Would you be interested in studying or working with languages?
In a little under three weeks, I’ll be starting military service. During my time there, I plan to maintain my language skills by reading books in the languages I know. As for what I’m going to study after military service, I’m not sure yet. However, I hope that I’ll get to use many different languages extensively in my future job.
Is the language service industry familiar to you?
I already have a surface-level understanding of the language service industry, but I’d still like to learn more about it. I have no doubt that there may well be interesting career choices for me in the language service industry. My grandfather was an interpreter, so I’m familiar with interpreting through him.