Student Testimonials

2023 Student Voices

“The SASLI program’s level of intensity was incredibly challenging in pushing me out of my comfort zone and away from my fear of making mistakes. I was a complete beginner in the Urdu language when I first started at the beginning of the SASLI program, but I learned so much in just eight short weeks with the help of the SASLI program teachers, students, and administrative staff.“

– Cody A., Elementary Urdu

“Before coming here, I felt quite lost career-wise and was not sure where I should look for assistance. However, it was such a nice surprise to find out there were various workshops that would help me with such insecurities. I felt that the professional development workshop and the LCTL panel sessions were tremendously helpful. I have a lot more knowledge about what types of careers are open to me and how I can begin to explore them.

– Elementary Hindi Student

“Ten years ago I first walked into a SASLI classroom. Now this was my final year learning a language at SASLI (as far as I can predict).  I’m so grateful for all the time and effort that the administration, staff, and professors have put over these years. I have had such a great experience learning so many languages and meeting amazing people along the way. As always, learning a language during the summer in Madison is always the right move!”

– Nichole S., Intermediate Bangla 2023

“SASLI helped me realize that it’s totally possible to learn a language that I previously did not know at all. My teachers are inspired & benevolent, they make the learning fun!”

E.P., Elementary Hindi

“SASLI is a very special place for language learning (and in a gorgeous location to boot!). The professors are excellent and deeply devoted to their craft, and the leadership team does so much to enhance and support the learning journey. SASLI can have a big impact on your career (and life), including in ways you cannot predict. Take the leap! It will be hard, but you will not regret it.”

– Upayadhi L., Elementary Hindi

“SASLI helped me to rediscover my passion for language acquisition and modern Bangla language and culture. I’ve taken a variety of language courses, both in-person and virtual, throughout university and in my professional life. I can say with utmost confidence that my experience at SASLI, particularly with my course instructor and my pedagogy coordinator, has made for the best language learning experience that I have had to date.”

– Caitlyn M., Intermediate Bangla

“I had such a wonderful summer, and I am so grateful to the WISLI Tuition Scholarship, the SASLI Fee Remission, and funding from my home institution for making this program possible for me.”

– Maya N., Elementary Hindi

Online Student Testimonials

I am honestly surprised by the fact that I basically learned an entire language through this course. I came into ‘Intermediate’ level as a virtual beginner because ‘elementary’ was not offered. My professor, however, was incredibly supportive and generous and quickly helped me get up to speed. She even offered to meet me every day for an hour before class to teach me to the read Tamil letters which the other students could already do. She went above and beyond to address any questions we had and make herself available. Overall, I am very grateful for this experience and I got a lot out of it.

– 2023 Elementary Tamil student

“Translating ancient sanskrit manuscripts was a different feeling all together. I can not recommend this course enough. If you are looking for an intensive, rigorous, really useful course to develop your skills in the language you want to learn, SASLI is definitely the way to go!”

– 2021 Intermediate Sanskrit student

“At the very beginning of the 8 week semester, I had no understanding of Urdu. I couldn’t write the script and I couldn’t speak the language but at the end of my final exam, I was just blown away by how far I came. It was amazing all thanks to my amazing instructors, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and my classmates!”

– 2021 Elementary Urdu student

“This summer at SASLI 2021, I studied Elementary Bengali. I chose to come to SASLI because I have done SASLI previously after my freshman year of undergrad. SASLI was the starting point of a long journey. Because of SASLI and studying Hindi first at SASLI, I ultimately studied abroad in India and then was hired for a job in India. If I didn’t go to SASLI, none of that would’ve been possible.”

– 2021 Elementary Bangla student

“SASLI exceeded my expectations in so many different ways. The program itself engaged with students outside the class in that we had various professional development opportunities as well as opportunities to learn about the other languages and cultures of South Asia.”

– Elementary Sinhala 2021

SASLI's Tradition of Academic Excellence

“All the events I attended were interesting and worthwhile. Cricket was a fun bonding activity, while the museum and textiles were great for the fact, they had experts or knowledgeable people leading us through the exhibits. The WISLI conference and all SASLI program had a lot of cool events happening and I’m glad I went.”

– 2022 Elementary Hindi student

“It was very helpful that the instructor provided supplemental notes, vocabulary, and readings. The instructor has also been very supportive in facilitating language training for research in areas not covered by course materials, including making a collaborative list of research terminology and his correction of students’ homework that attempted to use unknown, but highly specialized words. In turn, the experience of language acquisition has been very positive.”

– 2022 Elementary Tibetan student

pashto class

“The intensive language program at SASLI offered an invaluable opportunity to develop a foundation in Bengali, which I have since built upon through study and research in India. Today, I continue to use the language skills I developed at SASLI daily in the context of my PhD research in West Bengal. Beyond this, SASLI provided an excellent setting in which to meet other graduate students interested in the region, and I remain in frequent contact with my teacher and fellow students. In short, the SASLI program was a formative part of my graduate training, and I highly recommend it.”

– 2015 Elementary Bangla student

“At SASLI I began the process of learning both a new script and my first language from South Asia. The program was well organized and there was lots of support as well as plenty of free time to study. Madison is very visitor friendly-with good coffee, good food, and many community events. I have built on the methods for language learning I experienced at SASLI and I applied them to both teaching literacy and an ELL position with the Peace Corps.”

– 2012 Bangla student

study break 2018

“One of the reasons that I came to SASLI was to learn Hindi for my research abroad. I certainly did that, but I also learned a great deal about practical linguistics, how to memorize and retain complex information quickly, and navigating a different culture. I use the skills I learned in SASLI every day in my work with international students, and I still get together with friends that I made in the program! I would happily do it again if I could get back to Madison for a summer.”

– Basil, 2011 Hindi student

Group photo of class

“Taking Hindi was a great experience! The teachers at SASLI made learning a new alphabet and a new grammar structure seem doable. I learned so much in those 8 weeks, laying a solid foundation for the next two years of Hindi I took in grad school and the 18 months of fieldwork I conducted in India for my dissertation. I am now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto.”

–Rachael, 2011 Hindi student

Hindi Students by Lake Monona

“SASLI was my first experience in formal Urdu instruction and set the foundation for my future language learning. After my summer at SASLI, I was able to take courses at the intermediate and advanced levels in India and Pakistan. These experiences have been crucial in developing my ability to speak, read and write in Urdu, which in turn has increased my confidence in traveling independently in South Asia and allows me to read primary texts in Urdu for my research.”

– 2015 Elementary Urdu student

Students standing in front of the Taj Mahal

“I use the language skills I acquired at SASLI every day at my job in the nonprofit sector. Since SASLI, I’ve used my Hindi-Urdu language skills to teach ESOL, prepare individuals for the U.S. citizenship exam and interview, complete U.S. citizenship applications, register voters, get out the vote, and assist with providing pro-bono immigration legal services. I wouldn’t be where I am without the strong foundation SASLI built. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in building a strong foundation in South Asian languages.”

– 2012-2014 Hindi and Urdu student

“I attended SASLI over the summers of 2014 and 15 in order to study with the only Sinhala language professor in North America and to spend my summer immersed in the social and intellectual nerve center of South Asia grad student life. Not only was my study of Sinhala instrumental in being able to conduct research on Buddhism and gender in Sri Lanka for my MA thesis in Religious Studies, the friendships and intellectual connections forged with South Asia studies grad students and faculty during those months continue to prove both inspiring and fruitful in my current doctoral work. I enjoyed my time at SASLI so much, in fact, that I ultimately decided to complete my doctoral study work at UW–Madison, where my ongoing research on the religious history of Buddhist networks in the early modern Indian Ocean continues to benefit from the robust language offerings and strong area-studies communities on campus.”

– Tyler, 2014-2015 Sinhala student

tyler photo

“I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Drexel University.  In the courses I teach, I share my experiences in India and the importance of understanding culture, history and language with students.  The invaluable cultural competencies studying language at SASLI provided make my teaching and research stronger, more applicable and exciting (not to mention interesting to the students).”

– Julia, 2010-2011 Hindi and Tamil student

“My summer in SASLI learning Hindi was a remarkable experience that was challenging, illuminating, and fun.  Learning a language at SASLI is a substantial investment of time and energy, but I was encouraged by supportive and motivated peers who helped me practice my skills and learn from my mistakes.  Moreover, my instructor and teaching assistant were both highly experienced, passionate, and talented. Based on the success of my summer SASLI experience, I continued to study Hindi for two additional years and undertook additional independent study of Urdu and Marathi.  Professionally, the commitment I had demonstrated to language learning through SASLI helped me secure a FLAS Fellowship during my Ph.D. program, and I have since traveled to India equipped with the language skills to thrive. In addition to my current work in India on environmental health, my study of Hindi (enabled by SASLI) has opened up amazing parts of the Indian cultural landscape that would have otherwise been inaccessible to me. I am grateful for the opportunity to have studied at SASLI and highly recommend the program.”

– Vijay, 2010 Elementary Hindi student