Tuesday, March 6, 2018

alex bare

University of Iowa International Relations major Alex Bare of Walcott, Iowa, has been awarded a 2018 U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) and will travel to Ibri, Oman, this summer for an intensive language and cultural immersion program at the Noor Majan Institute.  Bare will be studying Modern Standard Arabic in addition to focusing on a regional Arabic dialect.

"Cultural engagement and excursion programs are lined up for most weekends to give us a chance to get out of the classroom and into our host country," says Bare. "I aim to transfer my language skills from paper to the streets, particularly with regards to learning a locally-spoken dialect. I aspire to go into international journalism and being able to communicate on the ground without an interpreter is a critical skill to building trust with communities."

The CLS scholarship is a program of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and is intended to help broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages while building relationships between people of the United States and other countries. 

"I think Western culture has a profound lack of understanding of the Arab world, so it’s a place with which I hope to build connections and better understand," says Bare.

Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers. Students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. 

CLS is a competitive scholarship with acceptance rates hovering around 10 percent each year, but Bare encourages his fellow UI students not to be discouraged. "These scholarships aren’t easy to get applying once on a whim. Get in your first try early on and keep coming back year after year and punching different formulas into your application! As you grow academically, you’ll eventually hit the formula that works. For me, third time’s the charm!"

Additional information about the CLS Program is available here https://international.uiowa.edu/students/awards/critical-language.

Next CLS Application Deadline: Mid-November, 2018.