"Language is the key to the world," is a motto Davina Watson, a German and literature major at Southeast Missouri State University, lives by. This motto has spurred her to study several languages, including Spanish, Arabic and German, with vigor.
Davina of Diehlstadt, Mo., understands that in order to truly be able to understand a foreign language and culture, a person must live it. She decided to do just that and is currently studying the German language in Frierdrich Schiller Universitaet in Jena, Germany.
Since her arrival, Davina says she already notices improvement in her speaking and writing abilities.
"My grammar and phonetics have grown so much! Being totally submerged in the language has allowed me to learn so quickly," Davina said.She has travelled to Berlin, Weimar and Erfuhrt but plans to see much more before returning to the United States. As a literature enthusiast, Davina hopes to see the cities of her favorite authors.
"I have mapped out future destinations based on where my favorite German and Spanish authors were born, lived and have museums dedicated to their works. It's a great list of destinations," Davina said.
While Davina says she has been having the time of her life in Germany, she admits it was initially difficult to make friends because of the language barrier. She said it was nerve-racking to be in a new country, to see no familiar faces, to be surrounded with people from all over the world and the only commonality between them is their studies in German.
After her initial shock, Davina quickly made friends, she said, and now, the only major difference she notices between her German life and the life she is accustomed to in the United States is the transportation.
"I rely on the trains and buses to get me to the city each day and then walk where
I need to go in the city," Davina said. "It is very different from driving my car
anywhere I need to go, but it's reliable and easy, and everything is within walking
distance.I do like that!"After Davina completes her semester in Germany, she will
return to Southeast to complete her degree by Decenber commencement. She says she
plans to continue her education in graduate school by pursuing a master's degree and
hopes to attend Penn State University.
On the Southeast campus, Davina is involved with several organizations. She has participated in Student Activities Council, Residence Hall Association, Circle K and the Child Development Club.
In her free time, Davina likes to spend time with friends and ride her bike around
"I love the Cape bike trail. I have ridden my bike so many times down those trails and enjoy it every time! I also like to sit on the steps by the river and read a book or draw while enjoying the beautiful view," Davina said.
With only one semester left at Southeast before she plans to graduate, Davina says
she believes her time at the University has adequately prepared her for a professional
"I've learned how to communicate professionally with coworkers and how to represent myself through resumes, cover letters and other documents or situations in the professional world. Southeast has helped me greatly," she said.
Davina offers the following advice to current and future Southeast students.
"Make Southeast what you want it to be, and study abroad if you have the opportunity. It's one of the most important things you should do. You need to be immersed into another culture so you can step back and understand how other people live. It's a great opportunity that will open doors to many careers you didn't know possible!" Davina said.