Four Brigham Young University students have been honored with Critical Language Scholarships that will provide fully funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for seven to ten weeks this summer.
Robert Bonn (Middle East studies/Arabic), Kelly Danforth (Middle East studies/Arabic) and James Juchau (economics/Arabic) will be living and studying in Tangier, Morocco, while Elizabeth Nielsen (linguistics) will live and study in Vladimir, Russia.
The CLS program is part of a U.S. Government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Languages offered include Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish and Urdu.
Bonn expressed his excitement for “the opportunity to spend two months in such a fascinating country at this critical time.” He called “communicating with the Moroccan people in their own language on a daily basis” the "experience of a lifetime."
Juchau was equally grateful for the chance to “learn a new dialect of Arabic, deepen [his] understanding of Modern Standard Arabic — and eat tons of couscous!”
Danforth expressed interest in “picking up a North African Arabic accent. Arabs make fun of my Egyptian every time I open my mouth, so its time they had something new to laugh at!” she said.
Nielsen was pleased to get to “spend all [her] waking hours thinking about and engaged in learning Russian.” She is also can’t wait to live in a “beautiful, cathedral-filled city with all sorts of fascinating history” like Vladimir.
The David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies will host a scholarship information session as part of a panel on writing winning scholarship applications next fall.
For more information on CLS and other scholarship opportunities, see kennedy.byu.edu/student/scholarships.php.
Writer: Lee Simons