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Josef Korbel School of International Studies

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Competitive Critical Language Scholarship Awarded to Josef Korbel School Student

Ms. Ayesha Hamza will spend the summer studying the Russian language in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

By Leanne McCallum, MA '17, International Studies

DENVER--May 17, 2016--Ms. Ayesha Hamza, a first year International Studies MA candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, was awarded the nationally competitive Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). During the summer of 2016 she will study the Russian language in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Ms. Ayesha Hamza poses for a photo on the DU campus.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully funded summer overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. This year marks the ten year anniversary of the CLS program, with over 5,000 students being sent to countries around the world to learn critical languages.

The CLS program is part of a US government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages, and is sponsored by the US State Department. With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, CLS provides opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the US at every level of language learning. The program offers courses in 14 different languages including: Urdu, Bangla, Swahili, and Arabic. The Chinese, Japanese, and Russian language applicants are required to be at intermediate or advanced levels upon their entrance into the CLS program.

The Russian language program of CLS operates in two different cities in Russia. According to CLS, Russian continues to be one of the most in-demand languages among employers in both the public and private sectors due to its international relevance and unique versatility. Russian is spoken by over one-hundred million Russians, and is also the lingua franca of the entire former Soviet Union.

Scholarship recipients receive many benefits: intensive overseas group based language courses, room and board with a host family, a full cultural program, host community language partners, US academic credit, and domestic and international airfare. Upon completion of the program participants also receive a certified American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) score.

Ms. Hamza most looks forward to the immersive process of the CLS, particularly to be able to stay with a host family and better understand the cultural components of Russian language. She is excited to travel to Russia for the first time since she began her language studies in 2011 at Ohio State University, where she received her B.A. in Russian and International Relations.


Founded in 1964, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies is one of the world's leading schools for the study of international relations. The School offers degree programs in international affairs and is named in honor of its founder and first dean, Josef Korbel. Follow the Korbel School on Facebook and Twitter.