Learning a Language Off-Campus

According to its website, Princeton offers courses in about twenty modern languages. Sounds pretty comprehensive – until you consider that the world has literally thousands of distinct living languages.

World languages by proportion of native speakers

As I start preparing for my independent work next year, I’m thinking a lot about language ability, especially as it relates to primary source access. For non-Anglophone historical research, facility in the region’s language/s is essential to original scholarship. Personally, I’m interested in Eastern European Jewish history. The good news: I only really need one language to study primary sources from this period. The bad news: it’s not one of the twenty offered on campus.

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Confused in Two Languages: Getting Thrown into the Deep End of Research

During tenth grade, I began working as a research assistant at a Chemical and Biological Engineering lab at Princeton—a project I continued until we published a paper early this year. This lab performed computational research using extremely complicated algorithms. As a tenth grader, I had none of the basic knowledge I needed: no chemistry, biology, or coding.

The 3D folding structures I generated for HIV-1 receptor proteins and their ligands–one of the projects I worked on.

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