Critical Language Scholarship Program | Liz George
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Liz George

Liz George is an alum­na of the 2020 CLS Hin­di vir­tu­al insti­tute host­ed by the Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Indi­an Stud­ies in Jaipur, India. She’s a grad­u­ate of Wayne State Uni­ver­si­ty, with a Mas­ter of Social Work and a Bach­e­lor of Arts in biol­o­gy. She’s cur­rent­ly a Project Coor­di­na­tor at the Michi­gan Cen­ter for Youth Jus­tice and Clin­i­cal Social Work­er at Pon­ti­ac Gen­er­al Hospital. 

Get­ting to Know Liz

I was born in the Unit­ed King­dom, spent my ear­ly child­hood in Mass­a­chu­setts and then, as a con­di­tion of my family’s visa, moved back to India at the age of eight. I spent the next four years in the state of Ker­ala, in south India before return­ing to the US. I am a nomad at heart and have lived for extend­ed peri­ods in South Africa and Hun­gary, while pur­su­ing edu­ca­tion and career oppor­tu­ni­ties. Dur­ing my free time, you’ll find me watch­ing crick­et, rock climb­ing or play­ing ten­nis. Hav­ing grown up in mul­ti­ple coun­tries, trav­el is at the heart of my existence. 

Why Hin­di?

While I speak the South Indi­an lan­guage Malay­alam flu­ent­ly, my mom’s side of the fam­i­ly lives in North India, and my extend­ed fam­i­ly prefers to speak in Hin­di. For much of my life, I’ve strug­gled to stay includ­ed in those con­ver­sa­tions. Learn­ing Hin­di is one way of con­nect­ing to a cul­ture and lan­guage that I have always felt on the periph­ery of. Learn­ing Hin­di has helped me rec­on­cile aspects of my life, my sto­ry, and my per­son­al­i­ty that have felt scat­tered over con­ti­nents. It’s helped me take pride in my mul­ti-faceted identity. 

Liz wear­ing her favorite crick­et jer­sey for her final CLS presentation

India is a lin­guis­ti­cal­ly diverse coun­try and there is so much beau­ty in pre­serv­ing all of its unique lan­guages. While I take pride in speak­ing Malay­alam, gain­ing flu­en­cy in Hin­di has opened so many doors to work and live in dif­fer­ent parts of India. Learn­ing Hin­di has cre­at­ed oppor­tu­ni­ties for my career, it allows me to com­mu­ni­cate with my fam­i­ly, and I can final­ly watch Bol­ly­wood movies with­out fran­ti­cal­ly read­ing the subtitles!

Future Pur­suits

For the past year, and since grad­u­at­ing in 2020 with my Mas­ter of Social Work, I’ve been work­ing on a project focused on juve­nile jus­tice reform. My pro­fes­sion­al goal is to con­tin­ue to work at the inter­sec­tion of social work and crim­i­nal jus­tice. I also hope to work with­in the immi­gra­tion sys­tem, whether on a pol­i­cy lev­el or on a micro lev­el with recent immi­grants from South Asian coun­tries. Even­tu­al­ly, when I’m a ful­ly licensed social work­er, I’d like to spend some time work­ing abroad for the For­eign Ser­vice or for an NGO. Being able to speak Hin­di flu­ent­ly is an asset to these career goals as the lan­guage will allow me to com­mu­ni­cate with locals in their native lan­guage as I live and work in India in the future.

Impacts of the Program

CLS came at a dif­fi­cult time in my per­son­al life and offered an escape for a few hours each day. Across con­ti­nents and through a com­put­er screen, we shared so many moments of joy. I give much cred­it to our instruc­tors and lan­guage part­ners, who, through rain­storms in Jaipur and occa­sion­al tech­ni­cal chal­lenges, cre­at­ed an immer­sive and enrich­ing pro­gram. For two months our class, scat­tered all across the world, became like fam­i­ly. I’ve made life­long friends through this pro­gram, and when bor­ders open up and trav­el is safe again, I plan to vis­it Jaipur to final­ly meet my CLS fam­i­ly in person.

Alumni Profiles

Liz George
Liz George
Hindi 2020
Jaipur, India

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Posted Date

May 10, 2021