MadisonMadison Lee is a fourth year Echols Scholar at the University of Virginia, “from” many places she calls home, the most recent of which is Charlottesville.  Though English literature is her major, Madison is passionate about languages and literatures of many different places and cultures, and speaks Korean, French, and Spanish, among a few other languages. Though her native tongue is Korean, she hesitates to declare herself “fluent” in anything other than English – she believes that language-learning is an on-going process, never definitively finished and always with room for improvement and enrichment. She is continuously seeking out opportunities to further these language studies, and hopes to learn German next.

An introductory course in Linguistics was tremendously helpful in making clear that what Madison truly enjoys about studying foreign languages is the aspect of practical application, rather than abstract theory – she loves to use language to connect seemingly disparate peoples and bridge gaps between cultures and national boundaries through linguistic and cultural adaptation. To this end, her English major has also been immensely helpful – through literature, she studies societal values and human particulars of cultures here and afar. She especially enjoys literary analysis through the lens of linguistic and cultural specificity.

Between her second and fourth years at UVA, Madison spent time abroad, first working as a Student Ambassador of the USA Pavilion at the World Expo 2012 in Yeosu, Korea, continued by fall semester at Korea University in Seoul, and spring semester at L’Université Lumière Lyon II in Lyon, France on exchange. Over the course of her year abroad, she took a wide variety of courses including: French-Korean literary translation, Understanding Korean Society, Chinese Characters in Korean Language, World Literature in English, Mandarin Chinese, French-English translation/interpretation, French Literature and Culture, Investigative Journalism, and French History of Fundamental Rights and Liberties.

World Expo 2012 in Yeosu, Korea

Madison as USA representative at the World Expo 2012 in Yeosu, Korea.

Back on Grounds, at UVA Madison now works as a Program Assistant at the Lorna Sundberg International Center, where she helps to organize and facilitate cultural and social events led by volunteers. She is also an academic tutor, providing instruction in English grammar, essay writing, literature, World History, Spanish, and SAT/SSAT/TOEFL preparation. In the past, she has volunteered as a Teaching Assistant for ESOL classes, served as a Language Consultant through the UVA VISAS program, and lived on the Italian Floor of the Shea Language House – always interested in interacting with and learning from different people and cultures.

With a recent active interest in social justice and humanitarian issues, Madison has begun volunteering at Charlottesville’s Shelter for Help in Emergency, where she is specifically working to support the Latina Community case management. She hopes to combine her interests in languages and social justice to develop a career in international social justice.

Madison Diagram