Sophomore Ahmed Alsayid, who is majoring in global studies and political science with minors in Arabic and African Studies, has been awarded the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study in Ankara, Turkey this summer.
The CLS scholarship is a U.S. Department of State program intended to help broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages while building relationships between people of the U.S. and other countries. Ahmed will spend this summer in an intensive Turkish language program.
How did you hear about CLS?
I first learned about the program from my global studies professor, Emira Ibrahimpasic. During one of her lectures on study abroad opportunities, she mentioned the CLS program as an option for students interested in learning a language and immersing themselves in a foreign culture. The idea of studying abroad through an intensive language program was very appealing to me, especially since the program was fully funded by the Department of State. After class, I scheduled a meeting with Professor Ibrahimpasic to learn more about the CLS program and how to apply. She was extremely supportive and helpful throughout the application process, providing guidance on the requirements and tips on how to make my application stand out.
Why did you apply for CLS?
I applied for the CLS program because I have always been passionate about learning new languages and experiencing different cultures. The idea of being fully immersed in a foreign culture and language for an extended period of time has always been very appealing to me. The opportunity to study abroad and gain fluency in a critical language through an intensive language program seemed like a dream come true.
Furthermore, I believe that participating in the CLS program would help me grow both personally and professionally. Living and studying in a different country would expose me to different perspectives, values, and ways of life, which would expand my understanding of the world and make me more culturally competent. It would also give me the opportunity to develop my language skills and gain a competitive edge in the global job market. I applied for the CLS program because I saw it as a unique and life-changing opportunity to pursue my passions, expand my horizons, and grow as a person, as well as to challenge myself and apply for a competitive program.
What do you hope to get out of CLS?
I hope to learn more about myself as an individual. Studying abroad and being exposed to a different cultural environment will challenge me to step out of my comfort zone, navigate unfamiliar situations, and adapt to new cultural norms. I believe that this experience will help me develop my personal character, learn more about my own strengths and weaknesses, and broaden my understanding of the world around me.
In addition, I hope to build lasting relationships with people from diverse backgrounds. Participating in the CLS program will give me the opportunity to interact with individuals who share similar interests but come from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. I look forward to making new friends and creating strong bonds with my fellow participants, as well as with the local community in the host country.
From a professional standpoint, I see the CLS program as a stepping stone to future opportunities. Being proficient in a critical language can open up many doors in terms of job opportunities, cultural exchanges, and international relations. I believe that this experience will not only enhance my language skills but also give me a better understanding of the cultural nuances and challenges that are critical in the global job market.
What advice do you have for students who are considering CLS?
My advice to students considering CLS would be to research your language program and consider how it would help you develop as a person and professionally. I'd also advise students to be clear about their goals, as to what it is they wish to gain from CLS, as well as to be flexible. The CLS is a very competitive program so make sure you know why you want to be a part of it to set you apart from other applicants.