Four students selected for Critical Language Scholarship program

Irada Chouduri
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Irada Chouduri
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Four Grand Valley students have been selected to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program to study high-demand languages.

The program provides U.S. students with seven to 10 weeks of intensive language training in Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, or Urdu languages in 13 countries where these languages are spoken. 

The CLS Program provides fully-funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to increase language fluency and cultural competency. CLS Program participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers. 

The selected Grand Valley students for 2015 include:

Irada Chouduri, of Wyoming, will study Bengali in Dhaka, Bengladesh. She is a sophomore biomedical sciences major and member of the Frederik  Meijer Honors College.

Kyle Meppelink, of Holland, will study Arabic in Meknes, Morocco. He is a senior international relations major and member of the Frederik Meijer Honors College.

Meagan Roche, of Howell, will study Arabic in Tangier, Morocco. She is a senior anthropology major and member of the Frederik Meijer Honors College.

David Leestma, of Grand Rapids, will study at the Noor Majan Training Institute (NMTI) in Ibri, Oman. He is a senior international relations major.

The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Selected finalists for the 2015 CLS Program hail from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia and represent more than 200 institutions of higher education from across the U.S., including public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, minority-serving institutions and community colleges.

For further information about the CLS Program or other exchange programs offered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, visit and 

Grand Valley students interested in Critical Language Scholarships should contact the Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships, 230 Mary Idema Pew Library, (616) 331-2699 to discuss the award application process.