Wake Forest University Student Spends Summer in Russia with U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship Program

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
Critical Language Scholarship Program

Date: 10/5/2017 Telephone: 202-632-6452

Wake Forest University Student Spends Summer in Russia with U.S.
Department of State Critical Language Scholarship Program

Wake Forest University student Tatiana Ostwalt spent the summer studying Russian in Vladimir, Russia as an awardee of the 2017 U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship.

For eight weeks, Ostwalt and 24 other American students from institutions across the United States participated in intensive Russian courses at KORA Russian Language Center in Vladimir, an historic city in Russia’s “Golden Ring,” a group of cities northeast of Moscow which are home to culturally important architecture, religious art and historic churches and kremlins.

Ostwalt and her fellow CLS program participants lived with local Russian-speaking host families and met regularly with local peers to learn more about the Russian language and develop their personal networks. The group engaged in cultural excursions, lectures and other enrichment activities designed to support and enhance language learning and exposure to the host culture.

During one excursion this summer, CLS students had the opportunity to visit a local mosque and learn about Islam in Russia today. Throughout the summer students gained insight into several religions important in Russian society, including Russian Orthodoxy and Islam.

Students visit a mosque and speak with the local imam.
Students visit a mosque and speak with the local imam.

With over 150 million native speakers, Russian continues to be one of the most in-demand languages among employers in both the public and private sectors due to its international relevance and unique versatility.

The CLS Program runs every summer and is open to American students at colleges and universities. Applications for the 2018 CLS program are available at http://www.clscholarship.org. Applications are due November 15, 2017. What is the CLS Program?

The CLS program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. CLS scholars gain critical language and cultural skills in languages that are less commonly taught in U.S. schools, but are essential for America’s engagement with the world, contributing to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.

In 2017, 555 American students representing 217 colleges and universities across the United States were competitively selected from over 5,000 applicants to receive a CLS award. Each CLS scholar spends eight to ten weeks in one of 22 locations studying Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, or Urdu.

The program provides funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. CLS scholars serve as citizen ambassadors, representing the diversity of the United States abroad and building lasting relationships with people in their host countries.

They are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future careers. For further information about the Critical Language Scholarship or other exchange programs offered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, please contact ECA-Press@state.gov and visit our websites at http://www.clscholarship.org/ and https://studyabroad.state.gov/.