Gabrielle Swangstue

Class Year



Lakeland, Minnesota


Japanese, Asian Studies

Known as Gabs, senior Gabrielle Swangstue has prospered in Japanese at Carthage and plans to use her experience abroad and networking skills to continue with her development and career through the language. Impacted heavily by attentive professors and the “amazing classes,” Gabs seeks to teach her own students in the near future, whether it be in the U.S., or halfway across the world.

An active participant on campus, Gabs is involved in several clubs including Tea Club, Belly Dancing Club, and Fencing Club, as well as Japanese Club. She encourages new students to push themselves and thanks Carthage “for all the opportunities you have given me, for all the people I have and will meet, and for all the people who have changed my life.”

Career goal

“I would like to work as an English Teacher in Japan or as a Japanese Teacher in America. Apart from that, I would enjoy working for the the U.S. Department of State or as an interpreter.”

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

Professor Yan Wang has had a deep and profound impact on my life in that she has become a role model for me. When we are children we are asked who do you want to be when you grow up, and I want to be like her when I do. She pushes me in class to be the best student possible, calls me out on my language blunders and corrects me all the time, but knows when I need help not only with my classes but with life in general. She is a very kind lady and I know I can go to her if I am in need of help.”

Favorite class

“I have to say it’s the Tea: Science and Culture class that Professor Dan Choffnes offered. He is another professor that I look up to. It was a class where we applied science to learning about the chemistry of tea and the various cultures that surround it. It impacted my life in that I realized how global the world really is and the importance of knowing its history and interactions. I also got to drink tea and chat with other students.”

Campus involvement

“I belong to Japanese Club, Tea Club, Belly Dancing Club, a Dungeons and Dragons group, Fencing Club, and plenty others. They really helped me reach out and meet new people that I might not have met otherwise. I have met some of my best friends through these interactions.”

Toughest class

“That class would be the Potato Famine class offered by Professor John Leazer. It was a class that focused on the history of Ireland and its interactions with the world before, during, and after the famine. It was a class that was based in nearly 100 pages of readings a day about a dense and politically hot topic that we would then discuss in class. By the end of that class I had written a nearly 20 page paper but am glad for it, it was great practice for my upcoming thesis.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“I have not had any internships yet , but I am considering doing an international one that is being offered through the Japanese Department over the summer. I would be helping to teach English as a tutor at Christian College in Japan.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“Through Carthage I was able to apply to the Critical Language Scholarship, or CLS, program, which is an intensive two month long study abroad. I was able to go to Japan all expenses paid because I had a professor who told me about it one day. I have also had great opportunities to take amazing classes and network into communities abroad and across the country.”


“I received an academic scholarship, but applied for both the Presidential and the Modern Languages scholarships that are offered as well.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“I would have to say that the late night study sessions before a big test or final make up some of my favorite memories. It’s a good time when you are surrounded by your friends, everyone helping each other to get the best grade and filling in knowledge gaps. I also love when upperclassmen prep underclassmen for the classes ahead and teach tips and tricks to help them succeed.”

Favorite spot on campus

“I love this little cubbyhole that’s above the Student Union. There is usually only one big chair and a table and it’s the perfect spot to take a quick nap or study in near silence.”

Biggest surprise so far

“How far I have come as a person in three years.”

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“That kid would be so proud and amazed. Who would have thought I would be jumping between Japan and the U.S. as I have been for the past three years.”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“They should consider Japanese because of all the applications that are currently available and how global the world has become. Knowing more than one language is becoming a necessity. Tokyo 2020 Olympics are coming up and the world will be turning its eyes back on Japan, there are so many fields of work that open up due to that.”

“Do what is best for you but be prepared to put in time and effort to go above and beyond. Also don’t worry so much, everything eventually has a purpose.”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage due to the renowned Japanese program that was offered and its close proximity to the city I was living in originally. It was also the size of the campus and intensity of the classes that drew me in. I had heard that those who graduated with a Japanese major from Carthage usually received an N2 or an N3 on the Japanese Language Placement Test.”