Wednesday, March 20, 2024
student smiling

University of Iowa international relations major Kahiwa Sachs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been awarded a 2024 U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study in Nizwa, Oman, this summer for an intensive Arabic language program.

The CLS scholarship is a U.S. Department of State program and is intended to help broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages while building relationships between people of the U.S. and other countries.

“I started learning Arabic because I knew nothing about it and I wanted to learn something completely new,” said Sachs. “Immediately, the new alphabet and writing style drew me in and I loved how different it was from anything I had learned before.”

From attending Arabic conversation hours and hearing other non-native Arabic speakers having fluent conversations to the encouragement she received from her Arabic professor, Sachs was inspired to apply for a CLS.

“CLS will push my Arabic skills to a new level and will prepare me to use Arabic in professional settings,” said Sachs. “Eventually, I want to work abroad and CLS will not only teach me the language skills but also the crucial cultural skills needed to do so. Arabic is important because there are so many dialects spoken across many countries and learning Modern Standard Arabic opens the door to endless opportunities.”

For Iowa students who are interested in pursuing international funding opportunities, Sachs offers the following advice.

“Don't worry about trying to be the perfect applicant and fitting all the boxes,” Sachs shared. “Just highlight your unique experiences and what you've learned from them, no matter how small they may seem. Don't be discouraged if you are not accepted the first time you apply. This was my second year applying after not being accepted last year, and I felt so much more confident when submitting my application this time around.”

Learn more about the Critical Language Scholarship


International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement.  IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.