Salwa Saba, senior international politics major with minors in Chinese and economics, received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State under its program to help students master critical foreign languages. Salwa joined 120 American students who were placed in four cities in China including Xi’an, Beijing, Suzhou and Dalian from June to August, 2015. Saba, along with 29 others, was placed in Xi’an, Shaanxi province where she attended Shaanxi Normal University and lived in international dorms. Saba participated in a group-based language and cultural immersion program and had two meetings a week with a language partner.
“CLS was a wonderful opportunity to not only greatly improve my Chinese language abilities, but also immerse myself in the Chinese culture,” Saba said. “For many of the people I met, my peers and I were the first Americans they had ever encountered or spoken to. In some ways we had to remember that we were like ambassadors for the United States in our host country.”
Of the foreign languages taught at Belmont, both Chinese and Japanese are considered critical by the State Department Scholarship program. Interested students should contact Dr. Qingjun Li (Chinese) or Dr. Kimiyo Murata-Soraci (Japanese). Saba will be sharing about the CLS program and its applications at “Live and Study in China for FREE,” an on-campus convocation scheduled on October 21 at 10 a.m. in Massey, Room 100.
“It can be difficult to live and study abroad, but the memories and friendships you will make are invaluable. It gave me a tremendous sense of satisfaction to communicate with these new friends and my teachers in their native language,” Saba said.