Recent Grad Ready to Expand Horizons
Demitra Hart to study language in Bangladesh this summer
WOOSTER, Ohio — It's a long way from Shreve, Ohio, to Dhaka, Bangladesh, but Demitra Hart will make that journey this summer as the recipient of a U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship (CLS).
Hart, who graduated from The College of Wooster earlier this month, discovered the CLS program last semester and applied on a whim. "I started looking at some options, and this one sounded very interesting to me," said Hart, who is also fluent in German. "Eventually, I plan to attend graduate school, but I wanted to take a year off first. This program will allow me to not only learn a new language, but also immerse myself in the culture of Bangladesh."
Hart, who graduated from Triway High School and majored in religious studies at Wooster, will study the native language (Bangla) for eight weeks between June and August as part of a U.S. government effort to increase the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages.
The scholarship provides fully funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences. After completing the program, participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.
Hart is not yet sure what that career will be, but she is leaning toward something in the area of social justice, possibly with a non-profit or humanitarian organization, and she credits Wooster for preparing her for the next step. "In retrospect, I didn't realize just how much I learned [during the past four years]," she said. "Without the guidance of my faculty advisers, I don't think I would have had the opportunity to do the things I've done.
"I have become more socially aware, and developed tools to recognize problems that need to be addressed in the world," she added. "Through Wooster, I have realized that I have become a better student and a better person."
CLS program participants are among the more than 50,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The CLS Program is administered by American Councils for International Education.