300 Words: Amanda Upson

Freshman Amanda Upson shares her story.


Photo by Nina Williams.

Kristin Wells

Freshman Amanda Upson’s interest in foreign language and words stems from an unusual background.

“I didn’t start talking until I was four. So my parents took me somewhere and they had me tested and I was diagnosed as autistic,” Upson said. Upson’s autism isn’t severe and rarely affects her now.

Upson thrives in her choir class and considers World Regional Studies one of her favorite classes. She is also involved with Starving Artists, another way to express the words that now come easier to her. The study of foreign languages and cultures, and even singing in foreign languages, has interested her enough to learn a language on her own.

“Because I’m singing in foreign languages, I’ve been thinking about taking maybe French or Spanish at school. I have been learning some Japanese, I’m just going on to this online website to learn it,” Upson said.

While choir and world regional studies classes may have sparked her interest, she wants to take her knowledge beyond the classroom.

“I really want to go to a lot of European countries and I also want to visit Japan and South Korea. Really the main thing is the fact that it’s so different from over here and I just think they have very interesting and unique cultures. I’d really like to go over there and experience something completely different,” Upson said.

Upson would love to sing Japanese music in choir, and already has a taste of what it’s like.

“There’s actually a lot of Japanese music I listen to, pretty much everything from classic to metal. At first, I did think it was weird, but it grew on me and I’m like this is really good music, I really like this,” Upson said.

Although Upson’s autism affected her as a child, she has enabled it to ignite an interest in words, even beyond her first language.