Irena Cajkova

Instructional Professor, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
Gates-Blake 226

Academic Bio

“Learn languages so you can get out of this country.” This was my father’s advice to me as a child growing up in communist Czechoslovakia.  And I followed it: After graduating from DePaul University with a B.A. in Spanish and German, I received my M.A. in Spanish language and literature from the University of Chicago. I have worked at UChicago full-time since 2005 as a lecturer and coordinator in the  Spanish Language Program. For the past decade, I have split my time outside of the University working with the city's Latino and Czech communities. In 2007,  I became coordinator of the  Odyssey Project en Español — a Bard College Clemente Course organized by Illinois Humanities in collaboration with the University of Chicago Civic Knowledge Project. I am also a member of the Prague Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International, and  teach Czech language, literature and history to bilingual children at the historic T. G. Masaryk Czech School in Cicero.