Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

UA students receive Dept. of State scholarships

Three UA students have been selected to receive U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships this summer.

“This program can open doors for those who might not have otherwise been able to partake in overseas study,” said Rachel Hester, a junior majoring in marketing who will study Chinese.

Christopher Scott, a junior majoring in religious studies, and Leyla Amur, a senior majoring in anthropology, will also join Hester in traveling abroad to experience a different culture than their own.

The U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships is a full-paid scholarship available to students from all over the U.S.

The students will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes in the countries where the languages are spoken and are expected to continue their language study after the summer program.

Hester said she will travel t the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. “I am absolutely ecstatic,” she said.

Hester said the lack of cultural and religious diversity in her native city of Montgomery instilled a yearning to learn about others’ cultures and grow in that knowledge.

Amur said the Critical Language Scholarship and the UA Turkish Student Association motivated her to grow closer to her own roots.

“I’m half Turkish,” she said. “There are quite a number of Turkish students here and it’s a pretty close-knit community of us”

Amur said the tight relationship she has with all the other members of the Turkish Student Association influenced her decision to go back and visit Turkey a second time.

Her first visit was in 2008 and she said she hopes to attend graduate school in Turkey to extend her learning experience even further.

Christopher Scott took a different appreciation from the scholarship and studying the Arabic language.

“Looking at the ways in which Americans talked about Islam and Middle Eastern culture after Sept. 11, provided an excellent opportunity to deal with the theoretical questions that I was interested in,” Scott said. “That’s when I began studying Arabic as a sophomore.”

Scott will be at the American Center for Oriental Research in Amman, Jordan for two months. He said that he is interested in using Arabic to study the history of Palestine, in which Jordan plays a significant role.

The 2010 Critical Language Scholarships program received almost 5,300 applications and was launched in 2006 to increase opportunities for American students to study critical-need languages overseas. It is part of a U.S. government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical-need languages, according to

Rachel Hester said she would highly encourage other students to apply for this program for next summer.

“I am so grateful for the CLS Program and I hope we can start a tradition of Alabama students winning these scholarships.”

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