University of Delaware

Critical Language Scholars

Four UD students receive State Department's CLS Award


11:22 a.m., June 7, 2012--Four University of Delaware students will study foreign language abroad this summer as recipients of the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship.

"We would like to extend our congratulations to your students who have been selected for a U.S. Department of State 2012 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program," wrote Malaika Serrano, program officer at the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), to UD's Institute for Global Studies (IGS). "Over 5,200 students applied for the award, which places CLS among some of the most competitive scholarship competitions in the United States."

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The UD students who received the scholarship to study a foreign language abroad this summer are:

  • Daniel Bottomley, a doctoral candidate in political science and international relations from Downington, Pa., who will study Indonesian (Malay) in Indonesia. 
  • Michelle Church, a senior double majoring in anthropology and international relations, with a minor in Islamic Studies, who will study Arabic in Oman. 
  • Brenna James, a 2012 UD graduate in history and political science/global studies, with a minor in Islamic Studies, who will study Arabic in Tunisia. James, from Seaford, Del., will begin UD’s master’s program in political science and international relations this fall.
  • Matthew Werth from Westwood, Mass., a senior Honors Program student studying foreign languages and literatures (three languages) with minors in biochemistry, Latin American and Iberian Studies, psychology and political science, will study Chinese in China. 

These UD students were among 631 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who received the competitive scholarship, which will enable them to spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes in the various countries where these languages are spoken. 

Administered by CAORC and American Councils for International Education, the CLS promotes mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by providing “fully-funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences.” According to the program website, participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers. 

 “These are really competitive awards (10 percent acceptance rate), so to have four winners is a pretty big deal,” said Lisa Chieffo, associate director of the IGS.

Interestingly, some of the most widely spoken languages in the world are Malay (159 million), Arabic (246 million) and Mandarin or Chinese (more than 1 billion).

For more information, visit the CLS website or read the CLS newsletter online

Article by Fariba Amini

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