…showing her how to become a global citizen.
Part of what makes UWGB so special is its expansive network of international schools across the globe. And although Jill Neuendorf majored in German and Humanistic Studies, it was her willingness to embrace UWGB’s global network and its connections to Kharkov, Ukraine that paved her career path.
Jill vividly remembers taking a Russian class with Alisa Strelnikova from Kharkov, Ukraine in the summer of 1992, which Jill says “made the biggest impact of all on me and my life as a whole. Thanks to that class, I befriended Alisa and ended up going to Kharkov on a UW-GB exchange in 1994 just to reconnect with her and meet her family.” However, Jill ended up falling in love with Ukraine and the Russian language and culture, eager to learn more and more about the former USSR, its people, and the Russian language. As a result, Jill found her true passion and calling in life. “If I hadn’t taken Russian with Alisa at UWGB,” Jill says, “I would have never studied it and have no idea what I would be doing today.”
Although Jill’s course with Alisa in 1992 lasted only eight weeks, she and Alisa became good friends. Jill traveled to Ukraine two years later, “just to learn more about Alisa’s city and country, and to meet her family.” In the end, however, Jill ended up connecting her own life with Russia, its people, and the countries of the former Soviet Union. Jill says she will always be grateful to UWGB for facilitating the exchange with Kharkov State University, which made it possible both for Alisa to come to UWGB and for her to go to Kharkov.
After returning from Kharkov, Jill wanted “to go back to that area of the world again and again to keep learning more and more Russian,” which is exactly what she did. In total, Jill lived in Ukraine and Russia for about seven years and has also visited and/or lived in Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Jill, who teaches Russian at Georgetown University, is involved in a variety of projects that require Russian language proficiency and is a true global citizen thanks to UWGB.
Name: Jill Neuendorf
Grad Year: 1995
Major: German and Humanistic Studies
We’ve asked alumni to either share stories of how their lives were transformed by the UWGB experience or how they are making the world a better place with transformational work in their careers, homes, or volunteer experiences. As UWGB celebrates its 50th Anniversary, meet an alum each week who has experienced a “UW-Green Bay Transformation.” Stories were self-submitted and then edited by Zachary Taylor, a 2010 English Education graduate currently serving as Interim Associate Director of the Phuture Phoenix program.