Rebekah Olson '14
What are you currently doing for work and how did you get to this point?
After graduating Summa Cum Laude with a dual degree in classics and Russian and a minor in linguistics, I went on to earn my M.A. in translation from the University of Exeter in south England. From there, I worked as a translator in Russia, and then as a project manager for the world's largest translation company in the hustle and bustle of New York. I now live in Southwestern Germany at the edge of the Black Forest, where I own my own linguistics company, Olson Linguistics, specializing in Slavic and Scandinavian translation work.
How did your education in COLA prepare you for life after college?
Waking up every day for an 08:00 a.m. foreign language class your freshman year is hard. Having to go to another foreign language class immediately afterwards? Nuts. Making the decision to double major in two completely new-to-me languages right out of the gate cemented a work ethic in me that not only got me through five years of education but has accompanied me throughout my career. It is what makes me able to rely on myself as a business owner now. The amount and quality of work expected of you in both these degrees is such that people are instantly impressed by them - interviewers, dates, partners' parents, presidents, you name it.
What person or course most influenced you while at UNH?
During the four years I spent at UNH, I lived in Murkland Hall (from '10 to '14, both the Russian and Classics departments were located there as part of LLC). Not only did I attend classes there, I also worked for the LLC department, giving me invaluable time with what is the department's true gem: its professors. During my time there, I had tea-talks with Katya Burvikova, in-depth literary discussions with Aleksa Fleszar, mapped out life decisions with Arna Bronstein, debated everything and anything with Stephen Trzaskoma, declined Greek paradigms over and over with Richard Clairmont, and laughed at the endless witticisms of Stephen Brunet. These professors shaped my life and career path each in their own way and I'm certain I wouldn't be who I am or where I am today without them.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known while at UNH?
You don't have to stay in a degree that makes you unhappy just because you've started paying for it. Also, UNH is particularly incredibly expensive and if you go out of the U.S. for your M.A., it is significantly less so. *nudge*
What advice do you have for students interested in your field?
Study abroad and read a lot. Reading is invaluable when it comes to language learning because the more you understand of the culture, the easier the language is to comprehend.