Nine U.Va. Students Win Scholarships to Study Languages Overseas

June 3, 2011 — Nine University of Virginia students are among approximately 575 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who will be going overseas this summer to study languages with Critical Language Scholarships from the U.S. Department of State.

These students will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes and in cultural immersion in countries where these languages are spoken. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

The U.Va. student participants are:

• Michael Andreano, 20, of Poquoson, a rising third-year foreign affairs and East Asian studies double major in the College of Arts & Sciences, who will study Chinese in Xi'an, China.

• Galen Barry and Michael Marsh-Soloway, who will study in Russia. Barry, of Portland, Ore., is a third-year Ph.D. student studying philosophy in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Marsh-Soloway, 24, of Woodbridge, Conn., is a second-year graduate student studying Slavic languages in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

• Derek King, 26, of Cortland, N.Y., a third-year graduate student studying comparative politics in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, who will study Indonesian in Indonesia.

• Alyssa Paredes, 22, of Herndon, a fourth-year anthropology and East Asian studies major in the College of Arts & Sciences, will study in Japan for the second straight summer.

• Matthew Childs, 20, of Chester, a rising third-year double major in South Asian languages and linguistics in the College of Arts & Sciences, who will study Hindi in India.

• Benjamin McClintic and James Pierce, who will study Bangla in India.McClintic, 35, of Grand Rapids, Mich., is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences studying religious studies and South Asian history. Pierce, 31, of Richmond, is a fourth-year graduate student in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences in religious studies, specializing in the religions of South Asia.

• Reedy Swanson, 21, of Knoxville, Tenn., a rising fourth-year politics honors major in the College of Arts & Sciences, who will study Arabic in Jordan..

U.Va. Vice Provost for International Programs Gowher Rizvi said the University's goal is to ensure that every U.Va. student graduate fluent in at least one foreign language. "The State Department program is a wonderful way for our students to reach this vital goal," Rizvi said.
These scholarships, valued at approximately $15,000, cover all program costs, including travel from the student's home to the program location, pre-departure orientation costs, applicable visa fees, room, board, group-based intensive language instruction, program-sponsored travel within the country and all entrance fees for program activities.

"I am delighted that so many U.Va. students have been selected for this wonderful program," said Lucy Russell, director of U.Va.'s Center for Undergraduate Excellence. "The opportunity to study these languages intensively in the countries where they are spoken is unmatched. This promises to be an extraordinary summer for each of the participants and one that will have a long-lasting impact."

This is the largest number of Critical Language Scholarships U.Va. students have received since the program began in 2006.

The State Department launched the Critical Language Scholarships to increase opportunities for American students to study critical-need languages overseas. The program is part of a wider U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical languages. 

Program participants are among the more than 40,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries. The program is administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers and American Councils for International Education.

For information about the Critical Language Scholarships program or other exchange programs, visit here and here.

— By Matt Kelly

Media Contact

Matt Kelly

University News Associate Office of University Communications