Speaking the language of opportunity | Work of Arts
Speaking the language of opportunity | Work of Arts

Speaking the language of opportunity

Fluency in four languages is a doorway to the world for Paige Ross

A life less ordinary describes Paige Ross. One country is not enough, and neither is sticking to one language. Fluent in French, Spanish and Japanese with a smattering of Korean and Indonesian (“for fun”), the polyglot is, to say the least, an aspiring global citizen.

Add to that a year in Granada, Spain to study abroad as part of her Modern Languages and Cultural Studies degree, and what emerges is a person with boundless curiosity about other ways of living.

“I have a passion for everything cultural and I’m a total linguistic nerd!” she says. “I certainly enjoy meeting new people and making connections, especially while travelling, which can become quite lonely at times. But just as equally, I love moments of quiet where I can take in all my surroundings and simply exist.”

“I have a passion for everything cultural.” 

Jetting off to Spain in the third year of her program was not just a change of pace, it was an awakening, instilling in Ross a taste for adventure, and foreign cuisine. 

“It was definitely a challenge as well as one of the best experiences of my life,” she says. “It really had a shaping effect on my life, besides all the great memories of eating tapas and exploring Europe. It becomes addicting in a way, to keep finding more ways to be amazed by the world.”

Unfazed by the rigours of a double major in Spanish and French, as well as two certificates in translation studies, the St. Albert native explored the possibilities of campus life by maximizing her extracurricular activities, including a stint on the rowing team and volunteering as a YOUAlberta contributor.

“I definitely tried everything I could and had some really fun times along the way,” she says.

“University life is so diverse, especially at a huge campus like ours. I had several different quintessential experiences, like staying up over 36 hours to study for finals while writing an essay in two days, the study abroad, participating in clubs and teams on campus… and yet I still feel like I missed so many.”

“Your life is the one great masterpiece.”

Currently travelling in Southeast Asia, Ross is planning on using her facility with languages to establish herself as a freelance translator and conference interpreter while “living on the move in places where there is no snow!” She hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a graduate degree in translation studies.

“Your life is the one great masterpiece,” she says. “You get to ruthlessly edit and create, so make it vibrant, make it exactly how you want, and take full ownership of the choices you make, and do not let anyone else paint on your masterpiece.”*

*quote from the YOUAlberta post Dear First Year Self


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