Hindi at the University of Chicago

Bright Balloons

“Chicago's Hindi program unites internationally renowned scholars with an impressive wealth of resources, offering students a unique learning experience that caters to their diverse needs and interests.  It also provides lasting support in outside endeavors ranging from language-intensive academic fellowships to professional opportunities in the field.  In my life and generally, I trust that Chicago shall continue to play a crucial role in the visibility and progress of Hindi around the globe.”

- Mike, UChicago Hindi Alum

“I decided to take Hindi in my freshman year of college on a complete whim—I needed a third class. Little did I know that it would end up having a huge influence on my life. The Hindi instructors were extremely engaging and inspiring, and I enjoyed the classes very much. I went on to do the India study abroad program, and then after I graduated, a Fulbright in India. Knowing the language opened up a whole new world into the country's culture and allowed me to form intimate friendships with people who spoke little English. Now, I'm learning Urdu and working with Pakistani refugees in London.”

- Thalia Gigerenzer, AB 2009 South Asian Languages and Civilizations/International Studies

"Hindi class was one of the most demanding and rewarding classes I took at the U of C. The instructors were so fun and dedicated. The Hindi-class skits, meeting students from across the graduate programs, and Bollywood movies all made the class extremely enjoyable."

- Sree Kode, AB 2010 Economics and South Asian Languages and Civilizations

"Through a series of fortunate events, I ended up taking Hindi my first year at the U of C. What began as a whim turned into a love affair with the language, which Chicago gave me the resources to pursue, both locally and—eventually—in India. Encouraged by the creativity and rigor of the Hindi instructors, by my fourth year I found myself spending a month in Delhi on a grant to study (and participate in) the local street theater scene. I have been lucky enough to turn that experience into a long-term research goal, and I am now working toward a joint PhD in Theatre Research and Languages and Cultures of Asia."

- Katherine Lieder, AB 2009 Theater and Performance Studies/South Asian Languages Civilizations

"The Hindi program at Chicago is unique by being both rigorous and fun, scholarly and conversational—perfectly suited and tailorable to everyone's particular language goals."

- Smitha Nagaraja, AB 2009, South Asian Languages and Civilizations/Economics/Statistics

“Chicago's Hindi program provided me with an excellent foundation to use the language professionally.  My instructors were dedicated and enthusiastic, and insisted that we learn the Urdu script in first-year Hindi—something that turned out to be extremely useful when I moved to India. After graduation, I spent a year working as a Hindi editor in Delhi before joining the International Committee of the Red Cross as a Hindu-Urdu interpreter in Jammu and Kashmir.”

- Anna Jay, AB 2007, South Asian Languages and Civilizations

“The chance to study Hindi as an undergrad was a real privilege, but the opportunity to learn from individuals who are passionate about the study of Hindi made the experience truly life-altering. Learning Hindi opened my eyes to a region of the world that has since become the focus of my academic career, and gave me the confidence to study and live in India. My knowledge of Hindi greatly enhanced my time abroad, and is a skill I will continue to rely upon throughout my personal and professional life.”

- Sarah McKeever, AB 2010, International Studies

“Hindi at UChicago exposed me to a lot of Indian literature that I continued to study throughout my degree. When I graduated and went to work in Rajasthan for a development organization, I spoke Hindi every day with my friends, my co-workers and my host family, and I used Hindi-language surveys in the villages to ask people about their health. It was awesome to get a solid grammatical grounding in the classroom, then to apply it in a real world context.”

- North de Pencier, BA 2010, South Asian Languages and Civilizations (Hons.)

“The Hindi program at Chicago allowed me to quickly learn the script, grammar, and basic vocabulary that provide the foundation for advanced language proficiency. The teachers were highly attuned to my individual interests and tailored their lessons accordingly, providing a broad range of material—from historical readings to poetry, short stories to music lyrics—that was consistently challenging and exciting. The extra attention the teachers gave to learning the Urdu script meant that I left the program with the competence and confidence to read, write, and speak in both Hindi and Urdu."

- Priya Nelson, AB 2007, Anthropology/South Asian Languages and Civilizations minor

“In addition to teaching me one of the world's most interesting languages, the Hindi program at UChicago gave me invaluable insights into South Asian literature, culture and history.  I was able to use my Hindi to more accurately conduct research as a SALC major and to build long-lasting relationships while studying in India. As I struggled to find a meaningful job post-graduation, my knowledge of Hindi was an advantage in applying to an internship at the Asia Society—an opportunity that quickly paved the way to future fulfilling and full-time positions.”

- A. Podolsky, Class of 2011, AB, South Asian Languages and Civilizations 

“Hindi at Chicago is like the refiner's fire. The instructors were so well prepared that we never wasted a minute of class time. They understood the pedagogical techniques necessary to breaking Hindi down and making it assimilable to students. They so inspired us with their energetic love of the language that we actually enjoyed the challenge of the course’s heavy workload. I've never had any language course drive me as hard or help me make as much progress in such a short period as my Hindi class at Chicago.”

- Kimberly Walters, Doctoral Student, Comparative Human Development

“Hindi at Chicago was a fantastic course because of the quality of teaching.  The instructors spent a great amount of time deconstructing the language to make it easier to learn and easier to use.  In fact, Hindi prepared me so well, that I was able to easily learn other related languages on my own. Not only was Hindi a rewarding experience that gave me a life-long skill that I will be able to use, it was one of the most enjoyable classes I had in my college career.  I genuinely enjoyed going to class everyday and interacting with my fellow classmates to pick up a subject that was new to us all. I was very impressed with how well I was able to speak Hindi after I came out the program at Chicago.  I was unsure how well my Hindi skills would develop given that I was not immersed in the language all of the time; however, I felt I had a strong grasp of both written and spoken Hindi.  I attribute this to both the rigor of the course as well as the encouragement of professors to go beyond the textbook and actively try to use the language as much as possible.”

- Jalpit Amin, AB 2010, Economics/South Asian Languages and Civilizations minor

"Studying Hindi at the University of Chicago was easily one of my best experiences in college. The program is engaging and effective—it took less than two weeks in Hindi 101 for us to learn to read and write Devanagri! I spent the summer after my first year interning with an NGO in New Delhi and found that after only a year, I was able to extensively use the Hindi I had learned at UChicago on my projects.  I especially enjoyed my second, third, and fourth year of Hindi; the program exposed us to articles about contemporary topics in South Asia, as well as many different aspects of Hindi literature. The professors were always supportive of our interests and the program played a major role in my decision to major in South Asian Languages and Civilizations and to continue to study Hindi in Jaipur after graduating from UChicago."  

- Avital Datskovsky, AB 2013, South Asian Languages and Civilizations/Human Rights minor