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Alumni Focus: Anya Kriuchkova, Class of 2019


Image of Anya Kriuchkova

For as long as I can remember, I have been mesmerized by languages. It seems like my entire life was predisposed to this passion. I was raised in a bilingual Ukrainian-Russian community; my mom and aunt are both language teachers; the curriculum of my school had a large influence on the study of foreign languages, particularly, English and German; and the city I was born in – Kamianets-Podilsky – was nicknamed “the town of seven cultures”, combining architectural and cultural traditions of Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Armenian, Lithuanian, Turkish and Jewish communities.

Language learning is an exciting journey: or, at least, it always has been to me. Since linguistics is such a diverse field of studies, I took on every opportunity to study new things. In high school, my English teacher got me interested in conference interpreting. Several years later, I started binge-watching Korean drama, which eventually led me to enroll as a subtitler in a volunteer-based fansub community and to get interested in learning Korean. Over time, I was excited to realize that this hobby not only introduced me to audiovisual translation and its related software (aka Aegisub), but also significantly expanded my knowledge of Korean culture and built up a basic level of listening comprehension in Korean. During my college years in Ukraine (B.A. in English and German language and Foreign literature) I actively participated in student conferences, presenting on the topics of cognitive linguistics and theory and practice of translation. Additionally, in my free time I took some classes in Polish and Italian.

At CWU, I was blessed to meet faculty and likeminded fellow students who inspired me. I can say it with all my sincerity that World Languages department is one of the most heartwarming and fun places on campus: I know, a language geek like me might be biased in this respect, but some of the happiest memories from my student life came from taking classes and volunteering here. I would like to thank the faculty and staff of this department for their devotion and great work: particularly, our chair Michael Johnson for his endless encouragement and enthusiasm; professor of Russian Volha Isakava for supporting me throughout my college experience and making me feel like I was at home; Dr. Natalie Lefkowitz for her Sociolinguistics course, one of the best I took in my Spring quarter; and, of course, Professor Yuanxia Liu, our beloved 刘老师, who got me enamored with Chinese language and who is - I am sure that all First- and Second-Year Chinese classmates, as well as CSSA members, will second me on that – is one of the best language teachers a college student could have. Also, I cannot thank enough my mentor, Professor Penglin Wang from the Anthropology department, for supporting my passion for languages and providing me with his wise and attentive guidance. 

As a Chinese proverb says, “学一门语言,就是多一个观察世界的窗户” (“To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world”). Regardless of what your major or sphere of interest is, I would highly encourage you to take at least one quarter of a foreign language. Consider it as an opportunity to challenge yourselves, open a window into a new culture, and make new friends. Trust me: you won’t regret it.


Anna Kriuchkova, B.S. in Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology with minors in Asian Studies, Chinese Language, and Dance Performance

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