Recent University of Richmond Graduate Awarded Critical Language Scholarship to Study in Indonesia

May 24, 2023

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND —  Sarah Schalkoff, who graduated from the University of Richmond on May 7, was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship to study Bahasa Indonesia this summer.

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

CLS scholarship recipients spend eight to 10 weeks abroad or virtually studying one of 15 critical languages, including Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, or Urdu. To date, 22 University of Richmond students have received this scholarship.

Schalkoff, a leadership studies major from Yamaguchi, Japan, was previously awarded a Critical Language Scholarship in 2021 and completed a virtual program. This summer, she will be studying in person in Malang, a city in East Java, Indonesia, at Universitas Negeri Malang. She will participate in intense language study classes, live with an Indonesian-speaking host family, and explore Indonesian culture.

“I want to improve my Bahasa Indonesia linguistic competency and gain further insight into creating common understanding among people with different upbringings,” said Schalkoff, who aspires to work in cross-cultural education. “I am looking forward to directly observing how members of my host community interact with each other despite their diverse values, religions, and languages.”

During her time at Richmond, Schalkoff participated in the Bridge to Success program and two living-learning communities. She also studied abroad in Jordan. In addition to this award, Schalkoff received a Jepson Scholar award and will be pursuing a master’s in Japanese studies at the University of Oxford this fall.

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