Studying languages and cultures—and integrating them with their other passions—changes Obies’ lives. Read their stories at Oberlin’s International page, or see below for a shorter sampling from Oberlin’s Story Project.

Have a story to share? Contribute.

  • Terence Hsieh ’12 on jazz in China
     “Friendship is the bottom-most rung on the ladder of music: the best jam sessions, the best solos, and the best memories are shared on stage with people who can lose themselves in each other.”
  • Lauren Clark ’11 on the integration of classics into her life
    “I've found beauty and strength in recognizing temporality, which has brought me to understand translation across language and temporal boundaries as a positive and connective process.”
  • Beth Rogers ’07 on moving to China
    “I struggled in basic conversation, couldn’t communicate emotion, couldn't deal with the subtleties of the language at all, and couldn'’ read anything ... in some ways I think I re-discovered the potency and complexity of language during that time.”
  • Martha J. Tenney ’83 on Thailand and sign language
    On the lasting effects of her time at Oberlin: “Years later I have a career in public health and the things I love are the things I loved that helped create the squiggly route to NOW.”
  • Stephanie Patterson ’07 on falling in love with Russia
    “I brought my dictionary everywhere, but sometimes I was amazed that two people could connect in a way, especially with humor, that didn't always involve complete cognitive understanding.”
  • Andy Bartholomew ’07 on biking across Japan
    “From March 15th to June 10th, I cycled from Kyushu to Nagano. Nearly every day I flash back to some moment of my trip to Japan. I'll hop on my bike, or see a train, and I'll remember my first day on the road or jumping on the Shinkansen.”
  • Kim Faber on creating the SITES program
    “What began as one mom's hope to have a language program for her 5-year old son is now providing the opportunity for every elementary-school child in Oberlin to experience another language.”
  • Anita Fahrni ’65 on working with language teachers from Mongolia
    “After returning, I started to collect, sort and send books. Within 10 years, over 220,000 books would find their way from my garage to libraries throughout Mongolia!”
  • Alice Ollstein ’10 on Oberlin’s sister co-op in Nicaragua
    "As we sat in my host mom Jacinta's kitchen, I felt like a true partner, fighting alongside the UNAG because we want the same things for the same people."

Queer Tango

In the spring of 2013, Ana Cara (Hispanic Studies) and Ann Cooper Albright (Dance) used an OCLC grant to bring their classes together. Students used both academic sources and their bodies to experience the tango from all perspectives, and they focused particularly on queer experiences in a form of expression that traditionally relies quite heavily on gender norms.

The video below was made by Shane Clark and Regina Larre Campuzano, both class of ’14.

Obies Using Languages

A series of mini-stories about how Oberlin students and alumni have been using languages other than English.

Read all Obies Using Languages