Critical Language Scholarship Program | Mariam Waqar

Mariam Waqar

Why did you want to study your CLS target language?
As a STEM Education major, I wanted to study Indonesian because I'm interested in teaching in South-asia after I graduate. Currently, I am a Fulbright Applicant for Indonesia. I would like to use the inquiry-based teaching methodologies I've learned during my time in Undergraduate, to introduce a new type of teaching to the East.

What are your educational and/or professional goals?
My career goals reside in Educational Administration. First, I'd like to spend some time teaching with TFA or Fulbright, after that seek work as a public school teacher, get my administrative license and work my way up to a Principal's job, and ultimately round out my career by seeking work in an advisory committee, such as Secretary of Education for either Virginia or Maryland.

How do you plan to use your target language in the future?
If awarded a Fulbright, my Indonesian skills will come in very handy, but other than that, I do plan on returning this upcoming summer to do research.

How did participation in the CLS Program affect your life?
I met some amazingly driven individuals during my time in Malang, and have built so many connections in that respect. I met wonderful people in Indonesia, and my host mother is a woman that I came to respect and adore like I do my own mother, that relationship will always mean so much to me throughout my life.

What was your favorite part about being in your host country?
Everything! Indonesian people are such "doers." Every minute from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed, you are using it wisely! I loved that aspect of Indonesian living, everything has a purpose.

What did you learn about your host country that you didn't know before?
Well, I knew nothing about Indonesia pre-departure, but getting to explore the religious identity of the people, as well as it's roots to "Belanda" (Holland) were both extremely interesting aspects of the trip for me.

Please share a short story about your CLS Program experience.
So, when my friends and I went to Bali at the end of the program, we wanted to go see a Balinese beach. So, I went up to the driver and asked him to take us to "Pantai yang Sapi." He cracked up and so did everyone around me. What I wanted to say was a deserted beach, "sepi." But I used the word for Cow, "Sapi." So I was asking him to take me to a cow beach... wonderful!

What is your favorite target language word or phrase, and what does it mean in English?
I loved the Indonesian word "cukup." In Indonesia, all "c" words are pronounced with the "ch" sound used in English. The word means "enough." I just found it to be so much more satisfying to say "cukup" at the end of the meal rather than, oh that's enough...

What is a must see or must try in your host city or country?
Angkot! Please do it! In Malang, the main mode of public transportation is an Angkot. My classmates and I used to ride these things on funday fridays to see the city. They are extremely cheap, extremely cramped, and so wonderfully Indonesian.

What advice would you give prospective applicants, participants on the program, and/or recent CLS alumni?
Make sure to convey why you want to go to Indonesia, it should always relate back to your career goals! And, speak to your recommenders about this, share your essays with them, so they can speak to it as well.

Personal background
I grew up in Gujranwala, Pakistan and moved to the States when I was 7. After that, I've been a total Virginian, and have a great love for this state. My hobbies are exploring the nature of my great state, and also spending time with friends in D.C. Other than that, I am a voracious reader, and also like to inline skate (I know, does anyone do that anymore?). My father, mother, and two older brothers all work in areas of public service, and I plan on doing so as well! I also have an annoying younger sister who is 13, but I love her still :)

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Posted Date

April 27, 2015