“Why do you study Basque?” It’s a question I’ve been asked many times since I first started learning this fascinating language and one to which my answer has evolved significantly along my language learning journey. As a person with zero Basque heritage, my initial inspiration was my desire to get to know my adopted new hometown of Boise (having come from Oregon) by studying a culture that is uniquely connected to the history of this city. There was no way I could have known when I signed up on Basque 101 with Nere Lete at BSU how dramatic the influence of Basque would be on my life. That is to say, no other language I’ve studied (Spanish, French, Portuguese, Latin, German…) has connected me so directly with living culture and community. My minor in Basque studies inspired and gave me access to studying abroad on a scholarship with Etxepare Institute, to the hospitality of Basque people in Idaho and the Basque country (on both sides of the Spanish/French border) inviting me into their homes, to meeting famous writers and top-of-their-field academics, to hanging out with politically active Basque punk youth, to playing sax with a famous Basque rock band drummer, to talking to old men in a bar, to dancing all night in town parties, to seeing Gaztelugatxe and the tree of Gernika, to the beauty of the Basque coast, the mountains, the forests, to understanding (from the mouths of people who have lived the events) the history of resistance against fascist oppression and the fight to save a unique and ancient language and culture. Why do I study Basque? Because Basque inspires me…I would say give it a try!