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- by  Abby Weingarten
Two New College of Florida students were selected this year to receive competitive Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) to study in Taiwan and Tajikistan, respectively, this summer.
Keilon Sabourin
Keilon Sabourin

Keilon Sabourin, a thesis student concentrating on international and area studies and Chinese language and culture; and Chloe Fodor, a third-year student of international and area studies and religion, were chosen from 4,500-plus applicants at 583 higher education institutions countrywide (only about 10 percent of these students earned the scholarships).

Sabourin will study Chinese in Taiwan and Fodor will study Persian/Farsi in Tajikistan, though the programs may be conducted virtually.

“The CLS award, and the opportunity for further intensive language study and cultural engagement, advances my aspiration to achieve fluency in Chinese and become a translator,” Sabourin said.

The CLS is a fully-funded intensive language learning and cultural immersion program, which covers most of the costs of participating in overseas institutes (travel, room, board, etc.). And both New College students are no strangers to traveling. In fact, Sabourin is currently studying abroad this semester in Thailand and Fodor is in Israel.

From 2006 and 2019, 11 New College students have received 12 CLS awards to study such languages as Chinese, Arabic, Punjabi, Russian and Turkish, according to Duane H. Smith, Ph.D, the assistant director of prestigious fellowships for the Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity (CEO) at New College.

Fodor is interested in applying an anthropological lens to reshaping peace and conflict strategies—an approach that is of particular importance in Central Asia. Language skills in Persian/Farsi are essential to pursuing this research, Fodor said.

“I feel extremely lucky just to have the opportunity to study Farsi; I’m looking forward to the opportunities for cultural exchange that being able to understand the language will open doors to,” Fodor said. “I know that the whole ‘New College students are intellectually curious’ motto sounds a bit cliche, but I do think it holds true, and I try to carry that sentiment through to everything I study or pursue.”

Sabourin is a veteran of intensive Chinese language programs, having attended the American Councils for International Education’s Taiwan Intensive Summer Language Program twice.

“After graduation, I intend to get a master’s degree in translation and interpretation, so improving my Mandarin language skills is the best thing I can do for my career right now,” Sabourin said. “If not for the resources New College made available, I wouldn’t have even applied. New College’s Chinese language community gave me the tools and confidence to study abroad.”

For more information on the CLS program, visit

To learn more about scholarship guidance from Smith at the CEO, visit

Abby Weingarten is the senior editor in the Office of Communications & Marketing.