Critical Language Scholarship Program | Monique Bowie
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Monique Bowie

Monique Bowie is an alum­na of the 2019 CLS Turk­ish pro­gram in Baku, Azer­bai­jan. She’s cur­rent­ly a senior at the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Texas, major­ing in Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies with a con­cen­tra­tion in Devel­op­ment and Human­i­tar­i­an Affairs and a minor in French and Soci­ol­o­gy. She is plan­ning to attend grad­u­ate school to study glob­al human devel­op­ment, fol­lowed by a career in for­eign ser­vice. She loves to dance, trav­el and have game nights with friends.

Get­ting to Know Monique

I grew up in Hous­ton, TX with a sis­ter, raised by our sin­gle moth­er. We lived in a low-income area and I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to attend a col­lege prepara­to­ry school start­ing in 6th grade. At the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Texas, I take part in mul­ti­ple orga­ni­za­tions on cam­pus such as the Span­ish Club, Mod­el Unit­ed Nations, and Non-Prof­it Lead­er­ship. I am also flu­ent in French and Spanish.

Teach­ing Others

While brows­ing a mall in Azer­bai­jan with my best friend Adelia and my sis­ter Gulay, a group of younger girls walked up to us and spoke to my friends in Azer­bai­jani. They asked Adelia if they could take a pic­ture with me because they were so fas­ci­nat­ed by my beau­ty and the col­or of my skin, and told her they weren’t sure how to inter­act with me. I saw this as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to lead by exam­ple for oth­er women of col­or who may have this type of encounter when vis­it­ing Azer­bai­jan. I let the group of girls know that they could inter­act with me like any oth­er per­son; I allowed them to ask me ques­tions about my life and where I came from, and also asked them about their lives and goals. This expe­ri­ence great­ly impact­ed me because I was award­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to expand anoth­er individual’s think­ing, and tru­ly set the tone for appro­pri­ate inter­ac­tions with Azer­bai­ja­nis and African Amer­i­can women. I still talk to this group of girls on Insta­gram to this day.

Advice for Future Participants

The rea­son my CLS expe­ri­ence had such a huge impact on me is because I was able to immerse myself into the com­mu­ni­ty very well. I was on the Azer­bai­jani news, I was in two Azer­bai­jani com­mer­cials, I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak at a Baku Youth Cen­ter event, and I made life­long friends who I still talk to on a dai­ly basis. Don’t be afraid to go all out. Talk to peo­ple even if your lan­guage skills aren’t the best — they love to see that you are try­ing. Do the extra work of look­ing for things to do around the city because I promise it’s worth it.

Why Turk­ish?

I want­ed to study Turk­ish because I fell in love not only with the lan­guage, but the cul­ture when I vis­it­ed the coun­try in 2014. I would def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend that oth­ers study Turk­ish because it is a unique lan­guage — when you tell oth­ers you have the abil­i­ty so speak Turk­ish their eyes light up. I plan to use Turk­ish in my pro­fes­sion­al career as I hope to work in Turk­ish-speak­ing areas as a For­eign Ser­vice Offi­cer. With knowl­edge of the lan­guage, I would be bet­ter able to inte­grate into society.

Alumni Profiles

Monique Bowie
Monique Bowie
Turkish 2019
Baku, Azerbaijan

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Posted Date

April 29, 2020