On May 14, UW–Madison will celebrate its Spring 2022 Commencement. We reached out to a few of our students who are graduating from programs in the School of Education to learn about their favorite UW–Madison memories and future plans. Following is a Q&A with Vivienne Wooldridge, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Chinese and elementary education.
Where are you from, and what brought you to UW–Madison?
I am from Arlington, Virginia, right outside of Washington, D.C. I came to UW–Madison because I wanted to study education and Chinese, and both of those programs are amazing here! I also love Madison’s fun culture.
What is your majors, and how did you choose them?
My majors are Chinese and elementary education with an ESL focus, and I also have a East Asian Studies certificate. I chose my elementary education and Chinese majors because I started tutoring Chinese in high school and loved it!
Also, after visiting China in high school, I knew that I wanted Chinese to be part of my life and career.
What was your most meaningful experience at UW–Madison?
Personally, my most meaningful experience at UW–Madison was living away from my family for the first time. Being so far from my family, I have had to become so much more independent, and I have grown so much as a person.
Academically, my most meaningful experience at UW–Madison has been my student teaching experience. I am student teaching at a Chinese immersion elementary school, which has taught me so much about how to be a better teacher, person, and language learner.
"I am beyond excited to get the chance to live abroad and use my Chinese and teaching skills in Taiwan. Once I return to the U.S., I hope to teach at a Chinese immersion school or be somehow involved in Chinese language education."
What class or professor had the greatest impact on you, and why?
The professor who has had the greatest impact on me is one of my Chinese professors, Tianlu Zhang. I have taken multiple Chinese classes with her over my undergraduate career, and she has made my language study so enjoyable and fulfilling.
I also want to mention Mary Klehr, my education program supervisor, who has really supported me during my whole process of becoming a teacher. Both Tianlu Zhang and Mary Klehr also wrote recommendations for me for a Fulbright grant, which I was just recently awarded. Their support has really helped me to succeed as a learner and as a person!
What advice would you give to incoming students?
I would tell incoming students that Madison has so much to offer, and they should take advantage of it! From the farmers market, to the student unions, to the classes offered, Madison has a lot to explore. Enjoy it while you’re here.
What’s next for you? What are your plans for the future?
This August, I will be moving to Taiwan to teach English for a year through the Fulbright program. I am beyond excited to get the chance to live abroad and use my Chinese and teaching skills in Taiwan. Once I return to the U.S., I hope to teach at a Chinese immersion school or be somehow involved in Chinese language education.
What is your favorite “hidden gem” on campus or in Madison?
One of my favorite hidden gems in Madison is Brittingham Boats on Lake Monona. During the warmer months, you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and other water equipment there, and it is also just a beautiful place to relax on the grass or the dock.