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Image courtesy of the Critical Language Scholarship Program.

Young Whitties venture to Indonesia, Morocco and India this summer, thanks to Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) from the U.S. Department of State.

"Having fieldwork experience and various language skills is imperative in the study of anthropology as I prepare to go to grad school," said Uma Trivede '17, an anthropology major learning Bahasa Indonesia in Malang, East Java. The native of Kent, Washington, initially began this pursuit during a semester abroad in Indonesia.

"CLS is wonderful because I get to intensively study the language and immerse myself in the local culture of Malang among native speakers from all over Indonesia."  

She joins politics major Dessie Weigel '17 of Boise, Idaho, studying Urdu in Lucknow, India, and history major Bassel Jamali '19 of Richland, Washington, studying Arabic in Tangier, Morocco, as the latest Whitties to garner a CLS, which promotes acquisition of languages less commonly taught in American schools but deemed essential for today's globalized economy and for national security. CLS also provides structured cultural enrichment. At Whitman, Weigel competed with the club cycling team; Jamali is a leader of the Muslim Student Association.  

"The study of critical languages couldn't come at a more urgent time in the world, and I'm delighted that Uma, Dessie and Bassel will have that opportunity," said Director of Fellowships and Grants Keith Raether. "More important, the design of the CLS program allows them to build relationships and share diverse cultural perspectives with students from other countries. The diversity they bring will only multiply with the diversity they experience."  

CLS recipients undergo a competitive application process with about a 10 percent acceptance rate. This summer, the 550 undergraduate and graduate students are spending eight to 10 weeks abroad in the program, which is administered by American Councils for International Education. Whitman has produced 14 CLS recipients in the past nine years.  

Read more about Whitman's latest fellowship and grant recipients.