North Park Student Awarded Critical Language Scholarship by State Department

Isaac Bauer
Isaac Bauer, Normal, Ill., will study Arabic in Morocco this summer.

Isaac Bauer to study Arabic in Morocco

CHICAGO (May 9, 2013) – Isaac Bauer, a first-year global studies and politics and government major, with a minor in Arabic, will spend this summer in Morocco, studying the language and learning about Moroccan culture. Bauer, of Normal, Ill., was awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), and will leave for 10 weeks in Morocco in early June.

Bauer is one of about 610 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students awarded CLS scholarships in 2013 by the State Department. Recipients are assigned to one of 13 countries to become more proficient in a specific language.

Bauer, who is interested in the Middle East and Africa, has been learning Arabic only since he entered North Park last fall. He hopes to become proficient in the language and use it in a future career. In particular, Bauer's interest in the Middle East relates to the history of the region, and interactions between governments of that region and the West that have often produced mixed results. "I think that comes from a lack of understanding," Bauer said. "To a certain extent, learning the language, and knowing history and culture goes a long way toward greater understanding."

This will be Bauer's first time in the Arab world. He will live with a host family in Rabat, and study at a language institute there, with individualized tutoring and field experiences using Arabic, he said. After his CLS experience, Bauer said he hopes to continue language study by volunteering with neighborhood organizations in need of people with language skills, and study abroad in North Africa or the Middle East through North Park. He also plans to continue participation in the Middle Eastern Student Association, where he is currently an officer.

Students learn much through participation in a complete language immersion program such as the CLS, said Anis Said, University fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, and Arabic language instructor. In addition to excelling in Arabic class, Bauer is also a talented student athlete, according to Said. "Isaac is an extraordinary student who found the perfect balance between his academic duties and his extracurricular activities," he said. "I am also confident that when Isaac comes back to North Park in the fall, he will bring with him a new perspective on the Middle East and on Morocco."

Bauer's parents are Robert and Shelley Bauer, of Normal. He has three older brothers, Jesse, Matt, and Levi.

The CLS program is part of the U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical languages, according to the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It provides fully funded, group-based intensive language instruction and cultural enrichment experiences.  Program participants are expected to continue their language study after the scholarship, and apply their language skills in future professional careers.

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