Gustavus Adolphus College junior Ally Voss was recently notified that she is the recipient of a Critical Language Scholarship for the summer of 2012. A program of the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the program offers intensive summer language institutes overseas in 13 critical need foreign languages.
Voss plans to use her scholarship to study the language of Urdu in India this summer. Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It is the national language of Pakistan and widely spoken in some regions of India.
“I spent January of 2011 in India and I just really fell in love with the diversity of religions and languages there,” Voss said. “It made me think about going to grad school and potentially studying those religions and languages.”
A junior from Wausau, Wisconsin, Voss is double majoring in Spanish and sociology and anthropology.
“With this scholarship, Ally will be able to experience both linguistic and cultural differences first-hand by direct contact with another culture, putting into practice her intercultural communication skills, a major part of her degree,” said Assistant Professor of Spanish and Voss’ faculty advisor Maria Kalbermatten. “She has already demonstrated her ability to adapt well to new cultures and situations. Having already been to India for a semester, she is highly passionate about the possibility of spending more time there.”
Besides her academic pursuits, Voss has taken advantage of Gustavus’s liberal arts environment and is involved in a number of extra-curricular activities on campus. She competes as a pole vaulter on the women’s track and field team, is a member of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, and participates in the Big Partner Little Partner program through the College’s Center for Servant Leadership.
“I always knew I wanted to go to a private, liberal arts college,” Voss said. “I came here thinking I was going to go pre-med, but my first semester I fell in love with anthropology. I knew I would find my path here and that’s why I was really attracted to Gustavus.”
Critical Language Scholarship institutes provide fully-funded group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for seven to ten weeks for U.S. students. The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.
Gustavus students interested in applying for Critical Language Scholarship in the future should contact Associate Professor in Political Science and Gustavus Fellowships Coordinator Alisa Rosenthal at email@example.com.
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