Fulbright Steps Up Language Training

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Wed Oct 18 13:00:22 UTC 2006

>>From the issue dated October 20, 2006

Fulbright Steps Up Language Training
A new award enables students to improve, and use, their language skills


For the first time, the Fulbright Program is emphasizing "critical
languages" this year in its continuing effort to promote better
understanding and engagement of other cultures. "The ability to converse
at a high level in foreign countries is at the heart of the dialogue that
the United States wants to have with countries around the world," says
Thomas A. Farrell, deputy assistant secretary for academic programs at the
State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which
oversees the government-sponsored academic-exchange program. "The
Fulbright is the perfect program to achieve that mission."

American and foreign scholars and students have received Fulbright grants
since 1946. The awards, made by binational commissions, are financed by
the United States and the government of each participating country. This
fall almost 1,300 American students were chosen for the Fulbright Program.
They will travel to 122 countries, where they will conduct research, take
classes, or teach English. Of the grantees, 40 were also recipients of a
new Fulbright Critical Language Enhancement Award, through which they can
study to become fluent in languages deemed "critical" under the National
Security Language Initiative. Next year Fulbright plans to grant 150 such

That $114-million project, announced by President Bush in January, is
designed to increase the number of Americans who can speak Arabic,
Mandarin, Russian, Hindi, Farsi, and Turkish, among other languages. The
project is a joint effort of the Departments of State, Education, and
Defense. Students chosen for the awards must have a minimum level of
proficiency in the language before leaving for the concentrated language
study, which can last for up to six months before the start of their
Fulbright year abroad.  Students are asked to use their chosen languages
to carry out their primary Fulbright research projects.

The hope is that more students will integrate their new language skills
into their professional lives. Career fields with the most immediate need
include the government and business sectors, says Mr. Farrell. "This is
really going to help students to exchange information and share values
with people in other countries," he says. "It will help in their ability
to be nuanced." The Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant program
has also received support this year from the National Security Language
Initiative.  The program is increasing the number of teachers who come
from other countries to teach their native languages at American colleges
and high schools. This year there are 305 teaching assistants, up from
about 200 last year.


Section: International
Volume 53, Issue 9, Page A41


N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal.


More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list