GC grads chosen for U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program

Sophia Martin (left) and Ariana Perez Diener (right)

Two recent Goshen College graduates have been selected for the United States Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). The CLS program is part of a United States government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages.

Ariana Perez Diener, a 2021 graduate with a degree in environmental & marine science, has been awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship to study Swahili during the summer of 2021.

Sophia Martin, a 2020 graduate with a degree in history, has been awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship to study Indonesian during the summer of 2021.

Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the majority of CLS institutes in 2021 will be offered as a virtual program. Both Perez Diener and Martin will be participating virtually. Both spent time in the GC Study-Service Term program, where Perez Diener studied in Tanzania, and Martin in Indonesia. Their background in these countries with the SST program gave them  intercultural and language skills as well as a passion for engagement with critical global issues, making them highly competitive in the scholarship process.

The CLS Program provides opportunities to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to spend eight to ten weeks studying one of 15 critical languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, or Urdu.

CLS scholars gain critical language and cultural skills that enable them to contribute to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. Nearly 700 students were competitively selected at U.S. colleges and universities who received a CLS award in 2021.

The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. The CLS Program is developed in partnership with local institutions in countries where these languages are commonly spoken. CLS scholars are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future careers.