This is a thank you note that I received from a university student who invited me to give a presentation on language learning using music and the media at Illinois College in October 2016. In his Fulbright fellowship application, he wrote about how my book, Language is Music, inspired him to use music to teach English. He will go to Germany in the fall and will use the musical Hamilton to teach English! He gave me permission to publish this note.

From the Midwest of the United States to Germany via Language is Music and Hamilton!

If you’d like to invite me to speak, please visit my Speaking page.


Dear Susanna,

I hope you are doing well! We met in autumn 2016, when I was a sophomore at Illinois College and my organization invited you to give a talk on language and music. I was thrilled to meet you and hear firsthand about your work.

Diversity Week, Illinois College (October 2016)

Since then, languages have become an even bigger part of my life. I graduated from IC last month with a degree in international studies, German, and Spanish. In addition, I spent a semester abroad in Heidelberg, Germany, where I achieved a C1 level in German and even picked up some French and Swedish from my international group of friends.

Most importantly, I have been accepted to return to Germany with the Fulbright Program. I am going to spend a year as an English Teaching Assistant at a school in the former GDR to promote cultural exchange and understanding between the U.S. and Germany. In my application essay, I wrote about you and the importance of learning language through music. I plan to integrate those concepts into my work as an ETA this fall; among other things, I want to use Hamilton [the musical] to expose German students to American culture and history through a modern, musical lens.

I just wanted to say thank you for the work you do. Your philosophy has had a tremendous impact on my life and academic career, and I hope to share it with others in Germany this fall.

Best regards,
Michael Shereda