May 11, 2010
Last summer, Katie Dreeland spent a month in Jordan through an ASU study-abroad program, and she was amazed at how much better her Arabic was after just a few weeks of language immersion.
Just think how much better she’ll speak – and understand – Arabic after she spends the summer at a critical language institute in Cairo.
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Dreeland is one of five ASU students who have been selected for U.S. Department of State 2010 Critical Language Scholarships. The others are Cameron Bean, who also will study Arabic; Kevin Conti and Danica Harvey, who will study Chinese in China; and Anne Clay, who will study Korean in South Korea.
They were among 575 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students selected from nearly 5,300 applicants for the 2010 program.
“The Department of State's Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) for Intensive Summer Institutes was launched in 2006 to increase opportunities for American students to study critical-need languages overseas and is part of a wider U.S. government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical-need languages, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of State.
The critical languages are Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Persian, and Russian and Indic (Bangla/Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu) and Turkic (Turkish and Azerbaijani) languages.
Scholarship winners are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.
The ASU students are all aiming for careers in the U.S. Foreign Service, or in science and medicine with an international scope. And several already speak more than one language in addition to English.
Danica Harvey, who hopes to work for the Foreign Service, is planning to use her summer Chinese studies as preparation for ASU’s Chinese Flagship Program, which she will start in the fall.
“The Chinese Flagship program is a two-year intensive language study program. In order to be ready to start in the fall, I knew I would have to work hard to advance my level of Chinese this summer,” she said.
Harvey, who is majoring in international letters and cultures, with concentrations in Chinese and economics, also sees the scholarship as a way to begin building a relationship with the U.S. Department of State.
Katie Dreeland, who is a biology and society major and is completing the Arabic Studies Certificate, wants to continue studying both Arabic and biology in a health-related field. “I’m considering pursuing a master's of public health and attending physician's assistant school,” she said. “My plans are to work in the arena of public health education to improve communication of science to improve health.”
Dreeland also recently learned that she will be able to spend the next academic year in Amman, Jordan, through a Boren Award from the National Security Education Program.
Anne Clay, who also received an NSEP award for the next academic year, will study in Korea this summer and then go to Yonsei University for the fall and spring semesters.
The critical languages scholarship will augment her six semesters of Korean language study at ASU and help prepare her for university studies in Korean, said Clay, who is majoring in biology and society.
“I am currently very interested in the legal implications of embryonic stem cell research, and would like to do research about Korean policies on this type of research when I attend Yonsei University,” she said. “In addition, Korean culture and language have always fascinated me and I am always willing to learn more about them.”
“Korean so far is my fifth language,” she added. “I grew up speaking French, English and Russian, and I took German in high school.”
Cameron Bean also is considering a career with the U.S. Department of State or with some other organization in the areas of foreign policy and international relations with a focus on the Middle East.
“I applied for the scholarship because I have been taking Arabic here at ASU from the 101-202 levels and think that this could be a great opportunity to solidify what I've learned over the last two years and help me jump forward even farther in my ability,” he said.
“Last summer, I had the opportunity to practice Arabic a bit while living in Tunisia, where I taught English for two months. Being there helped me realize how helpful practicing a language with native speakers is and made me certain that I would return to the Middle East or North Africa again to study the language one day.”
The CLS Program is administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) and the American Councils for International Education (ACTR). For more information about the programs go to www.clscholarship.org">http://www.clscholarship.org">www.clscholarship.org and http://exchanges.state.gov.">http://exchanges.state.gov">http://exchanges.state.gov.