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Eight UT Students Win Prestigious State Department Scholarship

shanghai china

25 June 2012

AFTER GRADUATION Ben Parker, a senior majoring in Chinese and Architecture, hopes to move to China and contribute his talents to that nation’s building boom.  This summer, Ben will get one step closer to his career goal by traveling to China and participating in the U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship Program (CLS), which provides scholarship winners with an intensive language training experience.

The CLS Program provides fully-funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences. Scholarship winners will spend seven to ten weeks this summer in intensive language institutes within one of 14 countries where the following languages are spoken:  Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu.

Ben and seven other Longhorns are among 575 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who received the 2012 CLS scholarship. CLS program participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship experience and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

Hope Collins, a Master’s student in Middle Eastern studies, hopes to one day work as a Middle Eastern specialist for the U.S. government. She is excited about the opportunity to return to Morocco this summer. While discussing her goals for the program, she stated, “In order to really understand a language, in my case Arabic, it is important to get out and speak with native speakers. Every taxi ride, restaurant menu, and purchase in a market is a new opportunity to improve my speaking skills.”

CLS Program participants like Ben and Hope are among the more than 40,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Congratulations to the eight UT students selected for the award, a group that also includes: Jared Berenter, Savannah Campbell, Jeffrey Loeb, Shannon Mich, Lindsay Milford, and Christine Parobii.

Story by Angie Pastorek

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