Three UR students awarded Critical Language Scholarships

May 22, 2018

Three University of Richmond students have been awarded U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships to study foreign languages overseas this summer.

The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages, which the U.S Department of State defines as those languages less commonly taught in U.S. schools but essential for America’s national security and economic prosperity.

CLS scholarship winners spend eight to ten weeks abroad studying one of 14 critical languages, including Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish or Urdu.

Harleen Bal Harleen Bal, from Springfield, Virginia, graduated May 13 receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in environmental studies and healthcare studies. She spent the spring of 2017 studying abroad in Brazil and developed an interest learning new languages as she navigated Spanish and Portuguese cultures. Through her CLS program, Bal will study Punjabi in Chandigarh, India.

“This particular language holds a special place in my heart because my family’s origins lie in Punjab,” Bal said. “Language is such a crucial part of cross-cultural understanding, and once you can begin to cross a language barrier, understanding culture, history and simply communicating in a deeper manner becomes much more attainable. ”

Bryan CarapucciBryan Carapucci, from Broomall, Pennsylvania, is a rising junior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in history and Chinese studies. Bryan will study Mandarin at Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China this summer. Following his scholarship, he plans to study abroad in Taiwan this fall.

“This scholarship will allow me to continue to study and improve my Chinese language skills in a completely new and fully immersive environment,” said Carapucci. “I will get to learn more about the culture and lifestyle of northeast China and experience life in a tier-2 Chinese city while meeting students from different backgrounds, giving me new perspectives on learning Chinese language and culture.”

Christopher ReinRichmond born, Christopher Rein is a rising senior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Arabic with a minor in linguistics. Rein will study Arabic in Ibri, Oman this summer participating in lessons and immersion activities like day trips to various archaeological and cultural sites. He aspires to work in the Foreign Service as an economic officer.   

“I studied Latin in middle and high school, studied Arabic since 2015 and I currently study Persian through the Global Studio's self-directed language acquisition program,” said Rein. “Understanding another language is the key to understanding another culture.”

To date, 13 University of Richmond students have received this scholarship.

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