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May 2, 2005

Double Major Studies English, Japanese

Sarah Breckenridge
Sarah Breckenridge

Photo by Dollie Harvey

It wouldn’t be unusual to find Sarah Breckenridge reading a text in Old Norse or translating an article from Japanese.

That’s because she a has a double major in English and Japanese Studies.

Breckenridge, from Forest, Va., discovered her passion for the Japanese language and culture after an excursion to Japan while she was in high school. When she found out she could take an individualized major in Japanese studies at UConn, she jumped at the chance.

“There are so many opportunities here at UConn,” she says.

Thanks to an undergraduate research grant from the Honors Program, she was able to spend a month during the summer of 2004 at the Yamasa Institute in Japan, where she studied the Japanese language and conducted research for her University Scholar project – a comparison of Japanese and British medieval literature.

“The experience was invaluable,” she says. “I improved my language skills, traveled all over Japan, and met some wonderful people.”

Breckenridge spent the fall semester of her junior year in London, as part of the Study Abroad Program. As a medieval scholar, she particularly enjoyed a trip to Canterbury: “I had just read Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, so taking my own little pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral was great.”

During her sophomore year, she was editor and chief of Long River Review, UConn’s literary and arts journal produced by undergraduates. She was a member and vice president of the Creative Writing Club and the Japanese Club.

Breckenridge, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, says she is proud of her undergraduate career. She recommends that students make travel part of their academic experience.

“Travel is so much of an inspiration,” she says. “It broadens and reinforces the university experience. When a place is mentioned in class – such as the Louvre – and you’ve been there, it makes the class especially engaging.”

She says she tells prospective students that UConn has “everything you could possibly need, and more. The resources are outstanding. The faculty and staff are incredible. If you’re an active participant in the process, you can find anything. You just have to go out and get it.”