Ahmed Alsayid, a sophomore global studies and political science major from Lincoln, is the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s newest Critical Language Scholar. He will travel to Turkey this summer for intensive language study at Ankara University’s Turkish and Foreign Languages Research and Application Center.
Through participation in the William H. Thompson Scholars Learning Community and service as vice president of the African Student Association, Alsayid has gained deep appreciation for cross-cultural connections within the university community, which he describes as the “first step” in his interest in cultural immersion experiences abroad.
The summer program in Turkey will provide Alsayid with cross-cultural exchange opportunities and a better sense of the U.S. Department of State’s mission to build mutual understanding with other nations.
“I know that Turkey is in a good geopolitical location for refugees and immigrants,” he said. “This program works out for my career goals and would help me further my professional development.”
Alsayid is interested in careers in international law and immigration policy, in which language skills and international experience will be essential for success.
The Critical Language Scholarship program, run by the U.S. Department of State, aims to expand the number of Americans studying foreign languages critical to national security and economic prosperity. Each summer, students spend eight to 10 weeks abroad, studying one of 14 critical languages. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. Participants are selected based on their commitment to language learning and plans to apply their language skills to their academic or professional pursuits. In 2023, about 500 students were selected.
At Nebraska, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships advises and nominates candidates for 30 supported scholarships and fellowships. To learn more, students and campus community members should contact Director Courtney Santos at firstname.lastname@example.org.