University of Iowa international studies major (East Asian studies and international business) Angel Trachta, a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been awarded a 2019 U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). This summer, Trachta will travel to Gwangju, South Korea, and will study advanced Korean at the Chonnam National University.
"I was drawn to studying Korean when I was fifteen and traveled to South Korea to visit my friend's family and it was a life-changing experience," said Trachta. "I find that language and culture are intertwined with each other and, therefore, to learn Korean is to learn the culture of Korea on a deeper level where I can sympathize and understand the minds and hearts of Koreans."
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. The CLS Program provides fully-funded group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment activities for seven to ten weeks for U.S. citizen undergraduate and graduate students.
"Through CLS, my Korean speaking, writing, and comprehension skills will improve at a rapid pace that I could not have the chance to experience otherwise as a junior going into my senior year. I envision bridging gaps between South Koreans and Americans through my experience at CLS."
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.
For UI students interested in applying for a CLS, Trachta offers this advice: "Writing CLS essays will take several drafts--I had over eight--this is normal! Don't be afraid to reach out to professors, advisors, friends, and Karen [Wachsmuth], the associate director of International Fellowships, who are there to truly ease the intimidating and somewhat lengthy process of CLS! Once you receive the acceptance email, it will be all worth it!"
Students are encouraged to begin their funding searches and applications at least six months to one year in advance. Schedule an advising appointment with Karen Wachsmuth to discuss your interest in an international fellowship or begin an application (as a UI undergraduate student, graduate student, or alumna/us).