Critical Language Scholarship Program | Announcing CLS Photo Contest…

Announcing CLS Photo Contest Winners

Congratulations to the 2022 CLS Photo Contest finalists! 

We received nearly 100 captivating photos and captions from 2022 CLS Program alumni. The CLS team had the challenging task of selecting from the many thoughtful entries four winners in the categories: language learning in action, mutual understanding, moment of reflection, and unforgettable moment.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and we thank all of our alumni who submitted photos to the 2022 competition. Your photos serve as a window into the CLS Program and as a source of inspiration to others considering CLS and critical language study. Thank you for continuing to be engaged members of our community. Enjoy our winning submissions below!

Language Learning in Action

Winner—Chise Kerns (Chinese 2022)

"My language partner, program mate, and I headed to the Confucius temple on a hot afternoon after classes. My language partner shared with us that students go to the temple to ask Confucius for good luck on their exams. With an exam and a couple presentations on the horizon, my program mate and I wanted to do as the locals do and write a letter to Confucius. However, we had no idea what to say. Our language partner helped us craft our messages and we just needed to transcribe them. Writing characters is something I have always struggled with, so I had to step out of my comfort zone to write this letter that would be displayed at the front of the temple. You can see the hesitations in my writing as I was triple checking my dictionary for the stroke order. The experience was truly one that you can only have if you speak the local language. For me, this photo represents a time when I stayed curious, challenged myself, and had an authentic cultural exchange." —Chise Kerns 

Chise participated in the 2022 CLS Chinese Program hosted by National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan. 

Runner Up—Rana Yelen (Korean 2022)

"This photo was taken at the CLS Korean, Busan site with my CLS peer Camryn Hay and I showing off our Bibimbap dishes during our CLS cooking class. Bibimbap is a traditional Korean dish and is a staple in Korean cuisine. This was a very fun experience of cooking while interacting in our target language, with the reward of getting to enjoying our delicious dishes at the end."—Rana Yelen

Rana participated in the 2022 CLS Korean Program hosted by Pusan National University in Busan, South Korea. 

Mutual Understanding

Winner—Eugeniu Prodan (Indonesian 2022)

"When I visited my language tutor's home, his mother cooked rawon -- a traditional Javanese dish. As we were eating, I reached for some krupuk -- a type of a cracker that accompanies most meals in Indonesia. Suddenly, my tutor's mother asked me: "Do you like krupuk?" Being a guest, I felt compelled to say that I love it. But in reality, I didn't. I was just trying to be a good guest. What followed next is one of the best examples of Indonesian hospitality: my tutor's mom brought a huge bag of krupuk, handed it to me, and said: "Since you love it so much, here's a bag of krupuk for you! That is how I learned firsthand about Indonesian hospitality. I couldn't eat the whole bag by myself, so I brought it to our CLS lunches. This helped me earn the title of "Sultan Krupuk" very quickly."—Eugeniu Prodan

Eugeniu Prodan participated in the 2022 CLS Indonesian Program hosted by Universitas Negeri Malang in Malang, Indonesia. 

Runner Up—Winona Zaky (Arabic 2022)

"Jamaa al-Fnaa feels like the heart of Marrakesh. This chaotic but lively square hosts persistent juice sellers, tourists from all over the world, snake charmers, and storytellers, as seen here. Storytellers exist to recount famous folktales in Darija and Amazigh with a certain degree of passion and spirit. Stories get passed on for generations that leave listeners with a new sense of adventure and magic. Apparently, taking photos of some storytellers are looked down upon. As soon as I took this picture, I suddenly received glaring eyes and shouting, people demanding I pay lots of money because I took that photo. This photo shows the moments before that awkward cultural experience, but also captures how captivated storytellers can keep their audiences."—Winona Zaky

Winona Zaky participated in the 2022 CLS Arabic Program hosted by Arab American Language Institute in Morocco (AALIM) in Tangier, Morocco. 

Moment of Reflection

Winner—Abdulla Ahmed (Arabic 2022)

"Studying abroad in Jordan has been a dream of mine since I first learned about the country’s rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and beautiful culture during my freshman year of college. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and what seemed to be its everlasting effects, my plans to study abroad have been postponed year after year. It wasn't until my senior year that I applied for CLS and was fortunate enough to have been selected as a finalist. Upon being awarded the scholarship, I remember thinking to myself that my dream of studying abroad in Jordan was finally coming to fruition. After two years of endless lockdown restrictions and remote learning, I was finally going to travel abroad and experience what I longed to experience my entire college career. Looking back, all I can say is that it was absolutely worth the wait. 

This past summer has been one of the most transformative summers of my life. The places I visited, the people I met, the experiences I had, the lessons I learned, and most importantly, the progress I made in my Arabic fluency, have undoubtedly helped me grow in ways I did not anticipate. CLS gave me the opportunity to embark on a life changing journey that provided me with the sense of clarity and direction I needed as a recent college graduate going into my professional career for which I am immensely grateful for."—Abdulla Ahmed

Abdulla Ahmed participated in the 2022 CLS Arabic Program hosted by Jordan Language Academy in Amman, Jordan. 

Runner Up—Chloe Vasquez (Arabic 2022)

"Congratulating my Jordanian host sister on her new birth on my first day abroad!"—Chloe Vasquez

Chloe Vasquez participated in the 2022 CLS Arabic Program virtually hosted by Noor Majan Training Institute in Ibri, Oman. 

Unforgettable Moment 

Winner—Scott Webster (Turkish 2022)

"During our group trip, we stopped at the largest Salt Lake in the region while on the way to Cappadocia. The views were amazing and the memories created were special. The entire group got to bond and create special moments together that we will remember for years to come. The group also consisted of teachers who got to bond with us students and boosted our group dynamic even more. I am grateful for this experience and meeting everyone in the group."—Scott Webster

Scott Webster participated in the 2022 CLS Turkish Program hosted by TÖMER Institute in Ankara, Turkey.

Runner Up—Sean Silvia (Turkish 2022)

"The first time I could see a Turkish mosque in person, after only studying them via pictures for years. Overwhelmed by the cosmic beauty and the magnificent scale of the Turkish architecture."—Sean Silvia

Sean Silvia participated in the 2022 CLS Turkish Program hosted by TÖMER Institute in Ankara, Turkey.