When German and History double major Capers Rumph received the outstanding German student award in 2009, the German faculty noted that she was a “poster child for our mission at the school of Language Cultures and World Affairs: she studied a specific language and culture, German, but used that cultural encounter as a springboard to become a responsible and engaged world citizen.”
We caught up with her recently to hear what she has been doign since graduation, and were not in the least surprised that she continues to be an inspiring Paradebeispiel (paradigmatic example) of our misssion here in LCWA. Capers, we are so proud of and inspired by you!
Capers Rumph on the Ganges river in Varanasi, India.
What have you been doing since you graduated and what are you up to now?
Since graduating, I’ve had the privilege of working and/or traveling in 50 countries, sailing across the Atlantic, advocating for an end to the war in eastern DR Congo, managing an ethical textiles company in Ghana, learning to grow vegetables on a farm that is working to dismantle racism in the food system, photograph trips to Burma, India, Sri Lanka, and Japan with a group of radical peace activist Buddhist monks, and a handful of other interesting things.
Right now, I’m living in Portland, Oregon, balancing my time between farming, construction work, resisting the rise of fascism, and making art.
How did studying German in the School of Languages and World Affairs prepare you be a global citizen?
Studying German taught me how to learn a language. It was my first second language, and the experience laid the groundwork to add third and fourth (and hopefully more eventually!) languages to the mix. I think that being able to communicate with people across languages and cultures is an invaluable skill — and this being able to understand/converse with people has taught me to trust people and has fundamentally shaped one of my core beliefs that, “people are good”. This understanding, which for me came by way of “learning how to learn a language,” is essential to contributing to the de-escalation and redirection of the ignorance fueled polarization, fear mongering, and general slide into plutocratic fascism that marks this moment in history.
For more on Capers’ journey and her photography, see her website: www.theoppositeofwar.com