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Profiles: Jessica Woodard
Name Jessica Woodard
College New Mexico State University, University of New Mexico
Degree B.A. German and Linguistics, M.A. German Studies
Current job title Peace Corps Volunteer – Spanish Literacy Promoter
Employer Peace Corps
Location Dominican Republic

Why did you first start learning German?
I decided to take German because my ancestors are from Germany, so I had an interest in the language and culture. My grandfather saved some letters written by his great-great grandmother which we had never been able to translate. After my studies I translated the letters for my family.

What did you get out of your German studies?
Taking German and being a part of the German American Partnership Program (GAPP) opened my eyes to the world and awakened my passion for exploring. Being able to travel to another place and communicate with the people is an experience unlike any other. I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to start at a young age, as it’s made me feel fearless now.

What influence did German have on your career choices?
During my M.A. program I had the opportunity to teach lower-division German classes at the university. This sparked a love of teaching I never realized I had. I’ve been teaching languages now for 6 years. I’m hoping to eventually return to Europe after the Peace Corps.

How do you use German today at home or in your work?
I am not currently in a place where I can use my German daily, however I enjoy watching movies, listening to music, and reading whenever I can. Since I’m immersed in Spanish now, I’ve made a point of adding German to my daily routine in some way. If it weren’t for the challenges I faced learning German and the realization that learning a foreign language is incredibly important, I might not be where I am today. I feel very lucky to speak three languages and I’m eager to learn more!

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