Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Why I'm Going & What I'll Be Doing

In February, 2007, I applied - mostly on a whim and with little hope of actually receiving it - for a scholarship offered through the State Department and the Council for American Overseas Research Centers. The scholarship was for an intensive language study in Bangladesh. Bangla has been identified by the State Department as a critical need language under the National Security Language Initiative.

Over 10,400 applications were received for the 367 available scholarships in 11 different critical languages. I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of one of those scholarships, and will be studying Bangla in Dhaka, Bangladesh at the Independent University of Bangladesh (IUB) from June 7 through August 11, 2007.

The program is equivalent to one year of college-level instruction. The emphasis will be on aural comprehension and speaking, with reading and writing complementary. At the conclusion of the program, students should expect to have command of basic structures of grammar, the ability to comprehend basic speech, speak a functional Bangla sufficient to negotiate everyday situations, and read and write simple prose and poetry with the aid of a dictionary.

Classes will be held from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sunday through Thursday.
Class instruction will include:

  • Lessons on the structures of the language, grammar, lexicon, etc.
  • Conversational drills and aural comprehension
  • Breakout groups for individualized conversation, role playing, and task-oriented activities
  • “Adda” - directed conversation with local students
  • Lectures by visiting scholars, artists, actors, health care workers, etc.

Students will also participate in a variety of cultural enrichment activities:

  • Museums
  • Archaeological & Historical Sites
  • Religious Sites
  • Political Centers
  • Educational Centers
  • Development
  • Art, Theatre, Music

Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to this opportunity! The next month will entail the completion of a significant amount of paperwork, obtaining of inoculations, and general rearranging of my work, school, and personal life. While there will likely be little blogging in the interim, I do intend to post regularly while I am away, and will have regular access to e-mail, so please keep in touch!


Darlene said...

Congratulations! How exciting! Keep us updated!

Sheila Burns said...

Noreen, I am very proud of you---I always knew you would "go far" figuratively and now you are doing it literally!!!I will read your blog this summer for sure!