Student Testimonials


Learn what makes studying at SASLI at UW-Madison the perfect way to spend your summer and hear it for yourself from former SASLI students:

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SASLI 2019 Intermediate Sanskrit Class
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Julia, SASLI 2010-11, Hindi/Tamil

“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).”

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Basil, SASLI 2011, Hindi Student

“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.”

Rachael, SASLI 2011, Hindi

“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.”

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Vijay, SASLI 2010, Elementary Hindi

“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 Foreign Language and Area Studies (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.”

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Tyler (2nd from right), SASLI 2014-15, Sinhala

“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.”

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Suzanne, SASLI 2012, Bengali

“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.”

Elementary Bengali Student, SASLI 2021

“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.”

Elementary Sanskrit Student, SASLI 2021

“Being a student of linguistics, drawn particularly to the study of phonology, what excited me the most during my time at SASLI was just exploring the phonology and nuances of classical sanskrit pronunciation with the help of my instructors who came from different traditions and cultural backgrounds.”

Elementary Hindi student, SASLI 2022

“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.”

Elementary Tibetan student, SASLI 2022

“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.”

Elementary Hindi Student, SASLI 2021

“This is called intensive language learning because you learn a whole year of language in 8 weeks. The instruction is tremendous. You will have an opportunity to learn a language that you want to learn and focus on.”

Intermediate Sanskrit Student, SASLI 2021

“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!”

Elementary Sinhala Student, SASLI 2021

“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 Bengali Student, SASLI 2015

“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.”

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Veronica, SASLI 2015, Urdu

“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.”

Intermediate Hindi student, SASLI 2022

“I cannot believe we have done so much in two months! I have improved my language skills, and although my level is still basic, I am confident that I can manage real-life situations, and I am willing to continue studying in the future.”

Elementary Urdu Student, SASLI 2021

“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!”

Student, SASLI 2012-2014

“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.”