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Bryana Shook is studying Chinese in Dalian, China this summer. She received a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship.

Six University of Georgia students have been awarded U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships to study critical languages abroad this summer.

The recipients are:

  • Sarah Dillon
  • Qendrim Haxhiu
  • Eva Marcelis
  • Meghan O’Keefe
  • Lucy Robertson
  • Bryana Shook

These students join approximately 580 competitively selected American students at U.S. colleges and universities who received the award this year.

Dillon is a senior from Chamblee majoring in anthropology with a focus on Indonesia. This summer she is studying Indonesian in Malang, Indonesia. She applied for the CLS scholarship in order to continue her mastery of Indonesian, a language not offered at UGA.

“I spent the summer of 2017 doing field work in Bali, and I realized that learning Indonesian was a skill I needed to master if I wanted to really get into anthropological research,” Dillon said.  “What I am most looking forward to is being able to talk fluently in Indonesian, because it is such a beautiful and fun language to speak.”

Haxhiu is a junior from Dahlonega majoring in risk management and insurance. This summer he is studying Chinese in Tainan, Taiwan.

Marcelis is a senior from Seattle majoring in international affairs and Arabic. This summer she is studying Persian in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

O’Keefe is a junior from Marietta majoring in Russian and international affairs. This summer she is studying Russian in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

“This is a great chance for me to improve my Russian rapidly,” said O’Keefe. “I also look forward to gaining a new perspective of Central Asia, an important part of the former Soviet Union.”

Robertson is a master’s student in comparative literature from Marietta. This summer she is studying Korean in Gwangju, South Korea.

Shook is a senior honors student from Milton majoring in Chinese language and literature and international affairs. This summer she is studying Chinese in Dalian, China.


“One of the aspects of CLS that I have enjoyed the most is the community and support that I’ve had so far,” said Shook. “In addition to classmate support, local language partners, host families and teachers all come together for two months to help improve your language skills and cultural understanding, and they help you with whatever else you might need to adapt to life in a new country.

“CLS provides the absolute best language learning environment and while the program is very intensive, the remarkable support that is provided (and the fantastic local food) makes the intimidating challenge of learning a language like Chinese feel achievable.”

The Critical Language Scholarship program provides scholarships to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to spend eight to 10 weeks overseas studying one of 14 critical languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish or Urdu. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.

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