By the end of his senior year, Quah had completed 12 credits in World Languages, taking every language at every level that Tampa Prep had to offer.
Rammi Quah ‘17, says he has always been interested in global cultures and “people all over the world.” So when Tampa Prep introduced its Global Studies Concentration, Quah applied immediately in grade 10. By the end of his senior year he had completed 12 credits in World Languages, taking every language at every level that Tampa Prep had to offer. Some studies suggest that language is harder to learn later in life, but Quah would argue that. “I just love languages more than anything else in the world,” he says.
One might think that living in a multicultural household inspired Quah to learn more languages but, he says, “My dad is from Malaysia and speaks Hokkien Chinese, and my mom is from Jordan so she speaks Arabic, but neither of them knows how to speak the other, so we all just spoke English at home. But I definitely want to learn Arabic and Chinese.”
It turns out that travel is, in fact, what inspires Quah to want to learn more about the world. “One of the best experiences in my life was the senior year spring break trip to France,” he says. “We saw a lot of [the country] and learned a lot. I’m obsessed with Bretan culture and language,” he says, speaking of Brittany, France’s northwesternmost region. “The food was the best, and I finally found books on the Brittany language which I brought home to devour.”
Quah graduated Tampa Prep as valedictorian and now attends Emory University as a Linguistics major. ”I’m constantly breaking down languages and sentences in my head. Spanish has helped me because it’s prevalent and I can use it. French not as much because I barely run into anyone who speaks French. Latin helped because I took Portuguese this semester [his freshman year]. Taking all three at Prep has made it easier to learn other languages.”
After completing his freshman year at Emory, Quah can say unequivocally that Tampa Prep and the Global Studies concentration academically prepared him for college. “I didn’t feel as much of a workload jump [going from high school to college],” he says. “My difficulties have been more about college life and managing time and sorting my life out and growing up.”
Anyone who has visited a foreign country knows that cultural immersion is a magnificent education and a fast track to self-awareness. With Quah on a mission to conquer the globe one country at a time, no doubt his collegiate adjustment period will soon be behind him.
He mentions that he is considering double majoring in Linguistics and International Studies as well as attending grad school. “I want to do something in the realm of global culture. Something that lets me experience and do good in the world.”