Zahra Ahmadi ’16, an International Studies major with a concentration in the Middle East and Africa, will learn a year’s worth of Persian in just two months in Tajikistan through the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship program.
Ahmadi, who is from Afghanistan, is among only 10 percent of applicants who receive the scholarship, which includes room and board, cultural programs, language courses, and transportation. Although Ahmadi speaks the Dari dialect of Persian, she is excited about learning to speak the formal Persian language, as well as reading and writing.
“I think travel experience is important,” Ahmadi said. “[For the Middle East,] it’s important for students to be involved and understand these regions that everyone hears about but many people don’t have an academic reference for.”
Ahmadi hopes this program will help “build the foundation for the future” by providing professional contacts both in the U.S. and Tajikistan. Eventually, she hopes to either work for the Department of State as an expert on the Middle East or an organization in Afghanistan.