Shaina Katz, a junior from Apex who is majoring in political science and minoring in Arabic at Appalachian State University, has received a Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic for eight weeks in Meknes, Morocco beginning in early June.
The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program, part of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, enables Americans to study Arabic or one of 13 other “critical” languages in cultural immersion programs overseas. See http://www.clscholarship.org/about for more information.
“CLS’s goals of language learning and relationship building inspire me,” Katz said. “I’m so honored to be a part of this program and I believe it’s a call to action to take what I learn and use it at a diplomatic capacity. I hope to gain a greater perspective that I can use to foster a better understanding. I also want to share what I learn to promote awareness of other cultures to eliminate negative prejudices and promote peace.”
The scholarship program is highly competitive. An Appalachian student last received a CLS in 2013, according to Appalachian’s Office of International Education and Development (OIED), which advises Appalachian students about opportunities for studying abroad.
To be eligible for the CLS Arabic program, Katz needed to have studied Arabic for a year. She did so at Appalachian with Dr. Salwa Ali Ben Zahra, an assistant professor of Arabic language, literature and culture. She will complete coursework for her Arabic minor next semester at the University of Haifa.
The Meknes program provides the equivalent of one academic year of university-level study of Arabic. Katz will receive at least 20 hours a week of formal classroom instruction at the Arab American Language Institute, learning both modern standard Arabic and a dialect spoken on the streets of Meknes. She will also practice her conversation skills with local university students and members of a family hosting her. She will participate in activities designed to enhance her appreciation of Moroccan life and culture.
In a related development, Shannon Wells, a junior from Wilmington who is majoring in global studies at Appalachian, was named an alternate winner of a CLS to study Japanese. An alternate replaces a student who has to withdraw from the CLS program.
About the Office of International Education and Development
The OIED is responsible for spearheading the internationalization efforts at Appalachian. The internationalization mission of Appalachian is to develop awareness, knowledge, appreciation and respect of cultural differences in both domestic and international contexts in its students, faculty, staff and the surrounding communities. The university is also dedicated to creating a campus environment that builds the theoretical and practical skills needed to interact effectively in a global society.