A love for learning

Sophomore utilizies languages to benefit her in the future


Contributed by Malika Nishanbaeva

Sophomore Malika Nishanbaeva smiles for the camera with her traditional outfit. It was needed for a project at the time.

Being multilingual has lent a helping hand to sophomore foreign exchange student Malika Nishanbaeva while traveling across the world.
Since they are ethnically Uzbek, the Nishanbaeva family speaks Uzbek in their home and Nishanbaeva started to learn the Kazakh language in first grade while living in Kazakhstan, which is very diverse.
“You can be in one place and speak the other language, but using it is the most interesting thing.” Nishanbaeva said.
Nishanbaeva began learning Russian five years ago. While this was a very difficult process for her, she was still able to easily learn the alphabet because of the similarities to the Kazakh alphabet.
Ever since Nashanbaeva was 13 years old, she dreamt of being an exchange student and living in new places. In 2020, she came into contact with an agency for exchange students and applied. The documents were in Russian, and knowing the language had paid off.
In the same year, she began studying English relentlessly.
Within 15 days of vigorous studying, Nishanbaeva was able to understand English grammar better than Russian.
Sometimes, she uses dictionaries to search up unfamiliar words in English so she can expand her vocabulary, and talking with English speakers helps her build skills even more.
“By learning English, I was able to come across the world at 16,” Nishanbaeva said.

Freshman Zachary Messmann, who is the host brother of Nishanbaeva, befriends her easily and supports her in any way he can.
In the past, his family has hosted several exchange students, and he was able to learn about new cultures that he has not been exposed to as much.
Messmann and his family do their best to help Nishanbaeva integrate into the community while also learning about her culture and language.
“In our school, for example, if you can speak their language… you can help them with their day,” Messmann said.
She aspires to learn how to speak Spanish along with French, as she would like to live in France in the future. She also wants to learn Turkish like her sister so that she can communicate with Turkish people in Kazakhstan.
Speaking many languages helped boost her confidence academically and socially. Most people are able to speak Russian or English wherever she goes, so she feels secure when meeting new people.
‘‘Learning new languages is the most wonderful thing I did in my life,’’ Nishanbaeva said.