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USM's Abdullahi earns prestigious scholarship to learn Arabic in Jordan

Portrait of Nairus Abdullahi

USM political science student Nairus Abdullahi earned a prestigious 2017 Critical Language Scholarship, enabling her to spend this summer learning Arabic in Jordan.

Abdullahi, who lives in Lewiston, was one of roughly 550 students selected nationwide into the program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to raise the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages.

Critical languages are those that are less commonly taught in U.S. schools, but are essential for America's engagement with the world.

Winners spend eight to ten weeks overseas studying one of 14 critical languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.

Abdullahi is due to enter her junior year at USM in the fall. Her studies include a concentration in international relations.

"The critical languages scholarships plays an important role in preparing U.S. students for the 21st century's globalized workforce, increasing American competitiveness, and contributing to national security," according to a State Department release. "CLS scholars serve as citizen ambassadors, representing the diversity of the United States abroad and building lasting relationships with people in their host countries."