Critical Language Scholarship Program | Paige Giarmona
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Paige Giarmona

Paige Gia­r­mona is an alum­na of the 2016 CLS Bangla pro­gram in Kolkata, India. She is cur­rent­ly a sopho­more at North­ern Vir­ginia Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege earn­ing her Associate’s Degree in lib­er­al arts. After grad­u­at­ing, she plans to pur­sue a degree in polit­i­cal sci­ence with a focus on inter­na­tion­al rela­tions and inter­na­tion­al devel­op­ment. Paige has spent most of her time in North­ern Vir­ginia but has also lived in oth­er states across the coun­try, includ­ing Cal­i­for­nia, Col­orado, Iowa, Wis­con­sin, and oth­ers. Her favorite thing to do is learn new things, which she accom­plish­es through trav­el, pho­tog­ra­phy, and reading. 

Why Bangla?

I was first intro­duced to the lan­guage by my best friend, who is a first-gen­er­a­tion Amer­i­can-Ben­gali. She and her fam­i­ly intro­duced me to their cul­ture and lan­guage. I’ll nev­er for­get when I was 15 and at my first tra­di­tion­al Eid ul-Fitr cel­e­bra­tion. It was then I knew I want­ed to become a part of this cul­ture. I have trans­lat­ed that wish, as well as my desire to work abroad, into a pro­fes­sion­al career goal of join­ing the For­eign Ser­vice, and learn­ing Bangla was eas­i­ly the next step. 

In a Word…

My favorite Ben­gali phrase is, মেঘ ডাকছে” or megh dakache,” which means, rolling thun­der.” The lit­er­al trans­la­tion for the phrase is, the cloud is call­ing.” In this con­cept, I start­ed to see the com­plex­i­ties and depth between lan­guages and the intri­ca­cies that reveal them­selves as you learn anoth­er culture’s tongue. 


I remem­ber being on a week­end trip with a friend to Shan­ti­nike­tan, a col­lege town formed by the famous Rabindranath Tagore. This was towards the end of the pro­gram. We real­ized we were going to be late for our train back to our host city, so we both start­ed fran­ti­cal­ly pack­ing, as I called an auto-rick­shaw ser­vice (called tuk-tuk in that spe­cif­ic area). I real­ized, only after I hung up, that I mind­less­ly spoke to the man in full Bangla. To make it even bet­ter, I under­stood him com­plete­ly as well, full accent and every­thing! I gained so much con­fi­dence from this encounter, which car­ried on for the rest of the pro­gram. I know that this sit­u­a­tion of gain­ing fear­less­ness to speak open­ly allowed me to progress in my lan­guage learn­ing path. 

Words of Wisdom

Bangla has become such a huge part of my life. The cul­ture, the coun­try, the peo­ple and the his­to­ry are beau­ti­ful, rich, and fas­ci­nat­ing. I was wel­comed so whole-heart­ed­ly into oth­ers’ lives that I felt as if I were adopt­ed. The Bangla lan­guage cel­e­brates intel­li­gence and emo­tion, and allows you to see a part of the human expe­ri­ence that Eng­lish, or oth­er Ger­man­ic ori­gin lan­guages can­not offer. 

Alumni Profiles

Paige Giarmona
Paige Giarmona
Bangla 2016
Kolkata, India

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Posted Date

March 28, 2017