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#GDTBATH: Luke Elliott

Carolina student Luke Elliott practices eight languages to connect with people from all cultures.

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When Luke Elliott proclaims he is a Tar Heel, you never know what language he might say it in. The rising junior from Hickory, North Carolina, speaks eight languages, and he is continuing to learn new ones as a Tar Heel.

His first language is English but he is also fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. Elliott says he is an intermediate speaker of German and Russian and is conversational in Norwegian and Dutch. He has started to learn Swahili and Irish.

“The languages I study usually come from places whose histories and cultures I find interesting,” Elliott says. “I’m particularly interested in Central Europe, so German, Italian and Russian seem to be good choices.”

His love of languages began after he started volunteering at a school in Morganton, North Carolina, where many students spoke Spanish. He said learning Spanish allowed him to make some of his closest relationships because of the large Guatemalan population there.

Elliott attended Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and then transferred to Carolina in 2022.

“When I saw that I would have my pick of just about any language I wanted to study, I knew it was for sure where I wanted to be,” Elliott says.

At Carolina, Elliott is a double major in Italian and German, Media, Arts and Culture. After graduation, he hopes to teach languages, either at a university or for a federal agency, or work as an interpreter or translator.

“I’m thankful that the Lord has gifted me with the ability to pick up new languages quickly and has given me a passion for it as well. It feels like I go to class every day and get to study my biggest hobby,” Elliott said.

His main goal is to connect with people of all cultures by having conversations with them, no matter what language they speak or where they come from.

“I think it’s really cool how foreign language can give you something to connect with other people who you may not have had a conversation with before,” Elliott said. “When you start to speak to someone in their native language, a lot of times their face will just light up.”