University of Iowa

Critical Language Scholarship winner to study in Russia

March 5th, 2020

University of Iowa international studies major Joseph Sailor of Rolfe, Iowa, has been awarded a 2020 U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) and will travel to Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, this summer for an intensive language and cultural immersion program at Lobachevsky State University.

I think this experience will be great for identifying what I want to do with my career after I graduate and where I want to work.

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 was drawn to studying Russian because I was always interested in international affairs from a young age. As I got older, I grew fascinated with Russian history and its relations to the rest of the world, which led me to study it in college and eventually take up Russian as a major here. I think we're at a very important moment politically with Russia's relations to the West, and the more people we have who understand the country, its language, and people, the better for improving the relations between us."

Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

"I think this experience will be great for identifying what I want to do with my career after I graduate and where I want to work. I went to Russia once before in 2018, and that was a big learning experience. I think the second time will really help me decide if I want to spend my career abroad or domestically."

CLS is a competitive scholarship with acceptance rates hovering around 10 percent each year, but Sailor encourages his fellow UI students to take advantage of resources on campus.

"To other students interested in applying for CLS, I would tell them to work with Karen Wachsmuth and all the great people at the International Programs office! With Dr. Wachsmuth's help, I was able to craft a winning application, and I owe all of that to International Programs."

Learn more information about the Critical Language Scholarship

Next CLS application deadline: November 2020 

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