Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Brushing up on German pays off

This week, we get advice from Alekhya Mallavarapu, a senior at David W. Butler High, who is fascinated with language. She is also quite good at it – taking the national German III exam three times and testing in the top 10 percent of the nation each time. Because she excels in German, Alekhya has been selected as a recipient of the 2012 American Association of Teachers of German Endowment Fund Scholarship to participate in the AATG German Summer Study Program. Alekhya is also an officer in Butler’s German club.

Q: Favorite German phrase?
“Reden ist Silber, Schweigen ist Gold.” The English equivalent would be “Silence is golden.” The literal translation of the phrase is “Speaking is silver, but silence is golden.”

Q: Any concerns about studying abroad?
I’m vegetarian ... and I’m a picky eater, so when I go over there I will have to adapt.

Q: To be considered wise, what must you know?
In my book, a wise person is someone who is tolerant, someone who can weigh all perspectives before making a decision and someone who knows how to exercise silence when necessary.

Q: Aside from language, what are your other hobbies?
I also have been dancing an Indian classical dance style called Bharatha Natyam for 10 years, as well as practicing an Indian classical music style called Carnatik.

Q: What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome?
Balancing two cultures has been the greatest obstacle I have had to overcome and am actually still overcoming. Sometimes the aspects of a traditional Indian culture that I grew up in clash with modernized culture. It only requires more patience on my part to understand the differences and come up with a balance, which actually gives me a chance to expand my knowledge on both.

Q: How often do you travel to India to see your grandparents?
I try to go every summer.

Q: What’s one thing worth remembering in tough times?
There are many that love you, cherish you and wait to hear from you.

Q: When you’re tired and don’t want to work anymore, how do you get yourself to keep going? I take a break, indulge myself in things I enjoy and get back to work. Sometimes taking a little time off to listen to your favorite band or watch your favorite show or even eat your favorite food rejuvenates you and keeps you going. Knowing I want to further my interest in a subject also helps; if I can get through this step of the work, then I’ll be able to learn even more about the subject.

Q: How can youth be successful?
First and foremost, a person has to try, at school, at work, at home. Giving up is very easy to do, trying makes people notice you.

Q: What are three things everyone should always have with them? 1. Favorite snack food - you never know when the stomach will start growling! 2. Pen - there are many things you can come across and may need to write down (i.e. contact numbers, due dates). Where to write it down? Use your imagination! 3. Picture of loved ones - when they cannot be with you in person, knowing they are with you in spirit helps.  

Q:What is a fun fact about yourself others may not know?
I listen to music in all sorts of languages. Many think it is odd to listen to music that I cannot understand, but in this technological world, it is fairly simple to look up a translation. However, many times I end up listening to various music because I love the tune of the song or the voice of the singer. Music is music; language is not a barrier for me!

Q: Favorite band?
My favorite band is a Korean boy band called Super Junior.

Q: What are your future plans?
I plan to finish off the school year with good grades and then proceed to do well in college. I am hoping to explore many opportunities and interests at college that will point me in the direction of my intended major. I plan to continue studying German in college, alongside other foreign languages.

Photo: Alekhya Mallavarapu (center) with her German class at Butler High. Photo courtesy of Alekhya Mallavarapu.