Critical Language Scholarship Program | Elizabeth Purdy
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Elizabeth Purdy

Eliz­a­beth Pur­dy is an alum­na of the 2016 CLS Hin­di pro­gram in Jaipur, India. She cur­rent­ly stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton with a major in social wel­fare. In 2015, she received her Asso­ciate of Arts degree from North Seat­tle Col­lege. Elizabeth’s pas­sion for lan­guages ties in to her love of learn­ing about oth­er cul­tures and con­nect­ing with peo­ple across cul­tur­al bound­aries. She fre­quent­ly vol­un­teers with refugees through the Inter­na­tion­al Res­cue Com­mit­tee and oth­er orga­ni­za­tions in Seat­tle. When she has free time, Eliz­a­beth loves to read, trav­el, and learn about oth­er cul­tures and languages. 

Why Hin­di?

My inter­est in South Asia start­ed while men­tor­ing an eth­ni­cal­ly Nepali refugee fam­i­ly from Bhutan. Hear­ing about their cul­ture and peo­ple inspired my first trip to South Asia, and I end­ed up vol­un­teer­ing in a remote eth­ni­cal­ly Nepali vil­lage in Dar­jeel­ing Dis­trict, India, for a year and a half. I got to trav­el in dif­fer­ent parts of India in that time and real­ized how much Hin­di would help in get­ting around India. As soon as I got home to Seat­tle, I imme­di­ate­ly began study­ing Hin­di, and I’ve been at it ever since! 

In a Word…

Hin­di has a lot of fun idioms. One that we were taught on the CLS Hin­di pro­gram was पेट में चूहे कूदना (“pet mein chuhe kud­na”), which means for mice to be jump­ing around in one’s stom­ach, i.e. to be hungry. 

Giv­ing Back

One of my favorite expe­ri­ences on the CLS pro­gram was vol­un­teer teach­ing to local girls from a mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ty. Trav­el­ling to India can be chal­leng­ing because social prob­lems such as pover­ty can be more vis­i­ble than they are in the US. As a stu­dent of social work, it was very mean­ing­ful to be able to work with a mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ty, even for just a few months. The expe­ri­ence also deep­ened my over­all expe­ri­ence in Jaipur, and def­i­nite­ly chal­lenged my Hin­di! I am so grate­ful to have been able to get to know the girls we worked with. We even set up a pen­pal rela­tion­ship with the girls and some stu­dents here in Seat­tle, so I feel like my rela­tion­ship with them is still able to con­tin­ue even though I’m now back in the Unit­ed States. 

Speak­ing Hin­di in India

I would absolute­ly rec­om­mend that more peo­ple learn Hin­di. India is such a beau­ti­ful and mul­ti-faceted coun­try, and know­ing Hin­di com­plete­ly changes the expe­ri­ence. Peo­ple are so shocked and sur­prised when a for­eign­er is able to talk to them in their own lan­guage! I once had a rick­shaw dri­ver stop his rick­shaw and walk along with me for sev­er­al blocks just so that he could lis­ten to my Hin­di (which was not great!). Peo­ple are so excit­ed, and so eager to help. It is the best rein­force­ment. And they’re very polite when you make mistakes. 


Alumni Profiles

Elizabeth Purdy
Elizabeth Purdy
Hindi 2016
Jaipur, India

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Posted Date

March 28, 2017