At least four local university students have been awarded scholarships to learn languages and culture this summer in a study abroad program.
Two students at New College of Florida earned Critical Language Scholarships from the U.S. Department of State and will travel to Russia and Turkey this summer. Two students at University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee earned scholarships from the Clyde G. Nixon International Business Endowment Fund and will travel to Italy and Korea.
Hilary Ramirez, a senior New College student from Orlando ,will study Russian in an immersion program in Vladimir, Russia. Sara Oldham, a 2011 Manatee High School graduate and senior at New College, will learn Turkish in Ankara, Turkey. New Colleges offers Russian-language courses, but not Turkish.
“My speaking is not good,” Oldham said.
“I’m more at an intermediate level,” Ramirez said.
The Critical Language Scholarship Program is an overseas language and cultural immersion program for undergraduate and graduate students. The goal of the program is to broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and to build relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, according to organizers.
Both students have previously visited their respective countries and are eager to return and learn more about the cultures and master the languages. Both students want to be able to use the language skills as they further their careers. Oldham will study at Georgetown Law School
in the fall. Ramirez has yet to decide what she’ll do after the program, but wants to gain real-world experience before continuing her education.
Spending time abroad and learning about other cultures helps shrink the world, Oldham said.
“We’re a lot less globally aware in America than other countries,” she said.
Ramirez agreed, saying that those abroad tend to know more about American culture than Americans know about other cultures. Studying abroad can help people learn more about their own cultures, too.
The students leave from Washington, D.C., in early June for the six-week program.