News and Stories

Photoblog Project & Founding the Asian-American Student Initiative at William and Mary

By Max Nikoolkan (Jeonju, South Korea '11 and '12)My experiences with the Critical Language Scholarship Program have benefited me in more ways than enumeration can do justice, but most intimately with my work in Asian-American advocacy and community building.I participated in the CLS Korea program in 2011 and in 2012, both times in Jeonju, South Korea. I also served as the CLS 2012 Korean Alumni A...


Studying and Bringing Arabic Opportunities to Others

By Aubrey McMahan (Nizwa, Oman '13)Hi, everyone! My name is Aubrey McMahan (Nizwa, Oman '13), and I participated in the CLS 2013 University of Nizwa Arabic institute in Oman.Prior to CLS, I studied international relations, the Middle East, and German language and literature at West Michigan's Grand Valley State University. I recently graduated and am now the newest internal communications speciali...


Project Pengyou: Inaugural Leadership Summit

By Mack Lorden (Qingdao, China ’13)Studying abroad in China changed my life.My first time outside of the U.S., I went to a country with a culture so very different from my own that I had no idea what to expect. However, upon landing halfway around the world for OSU’s Summer Intensive Qingdao Program, it didn’t take long before I felt right at home.The people were incredibly welcoming and hospitabl...


Working as a Nurse: A CLS Alumni Profile

Audrey Ferguson (Dhaka, Bangladesh ’11 and ’12) is a staff nurse on the Intermediate Care Unit at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia. She studied nursing and global affairs at George Mason University prior to obtaining this position.What did you learn about nursing while you were on the CLS Program?One of my favorite experiences in Bangladesh occurred when I went with another student and...


Researching Chinese Higher Education: A CLS Alumni Profile

Austin Volz (Chengdu, China ’13) is living and working in Shanghai, China as a Visiting Scholar at Fudan University.Austin designed his own research program on liberal arts education in China and received a Harvard University – Chinese Scholarship Council scholarship that opened the door for him to work in the Higher Education Research Institute at Fudan University.“Without the level of Mandarin I...


Alumni Update: Eric Shroyer (China ’13)

Eric Shroyer (Suzhou, China ’13) used his CLS Alumni Development Fund to prepare for the Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì (汉语水平考试) which is the Chinese government’s official examination for Mandarin language ability. Eric worked with Professor Tong Chen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to craft a personal “Mandarin boot-camp” that was geared towards HSK vocabulary.Eric recommends that anyo...


Alumni Update: Kaylee Steck (Arabic ’13)

Kaylee Steck (Meknes, Morocco ’13) will travel to Morocco later this month to serve as a delegate for the 2014 U.S.A.-MAGHREB Youth Debates. She was selected to be part of a delegation of 15 Americans who will debate foreign policy issues with teams from Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia.The debates, which will be conducted in Arabic, French, and English, are intended to promote direct dia...


Seeing the Seven Wonders of the World

How many of the Seven Wonders of the World might CLS participants have the opportunity to see? Only one of the traditional Seven Wonders of the Ancient World —the Pyramids of Egypt—is still standing. In 2007 over 100 million people cast ballots in an online vote to select the New Seven Wonders of the World, all of which can be visited today. CLS participants studying Arabic,...


Department of State AEIF 2.0 Initiative

ECA’s Alumni Affairs Division has a new initiative called “AEIF 2.0.” As some of you may be aware, the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) was created in 2011 to support alumni initiatives that promote shared values and innovative solutions to global challenges. The competition provides small grants to teams of past and current participants of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs to ca...


Participating in ‘Sohbet’ in Istanbul

By Allison Kanner (Ankara, Turkey ’13)Every Thursday morning, I leave my apartment in Kadikoy to go sit in a room full of women from across Istanbul, placing myself within a community that I have come to realize constitutes a unique and telling microcosm of this diverse, thriving city.I often kiss cheeks with a woman in designer sunglasses before turning to greet another woman dressed in full head...