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Xavier senior receives a State Department scholarship to study Arabic in Tunisia

She is one of 575 students chosen in the U.S. to study a critical language

05/12/10

Senior Ashley Bonnell, a history major who is also in Xavier’s Philosophy, Politics and the Public honors program, is studying Arabic in Tunisia this summer with a scholarship awarded by the U.S. Department of State. The Critical Language Scholarship was awarded to 575 undergraduate and graduate students to study Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Persian, Russian, Indic and Turkic languages.

Bonnell and the other students are spending seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes this summer in 15 countries where these languages are spoken, and they’ll participate in cultural immersion activities. They are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

The 2010 Critical Language Scholarship program received nearly 5,300 applications. Representing all 50 states, students from a range of academic disciplines and U.S. colleges and universities were selected for scholarships in 2010 through a merit-based selection process.

The Department of State launched the Critical Language Scholarships in 2006 to increase opportunities for American students to study critical-need languages overseas. The program is part of a wider U.S. government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical-need languages.

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

Additional information about the program or the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is available at www.clscholarship.org and exchanges.state.gov.