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Student Studies Abroad in Indonesia Thanks to Scholarship from U.S. Department of State


(Delaware and Chester Counties, PA • November 15, 2017)—Delaware County Community College graduate Mikaila Cordeau, 21, of Ridley Park, spent the summer in Malang, Indonesia as an awardee of the 2017 U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). It was Cordeau’s first time traveling overseas.

“When I first found out I had received the scholarship, I felt overwhelmed because this is what I had wanted,” said Cordeau, who graduated from Delaware County Community College in May with high honors. “I feel really excited to have this overseas experience.”

Cordeau is the first Delaware County Community College student to have received a CLS scholarship, and she is one of 555 competitively selected American students at U.S. colleges and universities who received a CLS award this year.

As a CLS scholar, she spent June through early August in Malang studying Indonesian in an intensive language and cultural immersion program that included: at least 20 hours of classroom language instruction each week; extracurricular activities designed to supplement the curriculum, including one-on-one meetings with native speakers for conversational practice; and cultural excursions designed to expand students’ understanding of the history, politics, culture and daily life of the host country.

The goal of the CLS program is to broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between people of the United States and other countries. CLS students also receive a year’s worth of academic credit from Bryn Mawr College, and virtually all of their expenses are covered.

Designed to contribute to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security, CLS is a program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and is administered by American Councils for International Education.

Part of the reason Cordeau wanted to study in Indonesia is because her best friend, Tanya Sanelly, whom she met through the College’s Intercultural Friendship Program (IFP), is from Indonesia. The IFP matches incoming international students with current students for semester-length, one-to-one friendship opportunities. Its goal is for students to experience first-hand, cross-cultural exchange opportunities and to increase their understanding of themselves, others and the College’s diverse campus community.

Upon her return from Indonesia, Cordeau, who received an Associate in Arts degree in Communication Arts at the College, was expected to study communications at either San Diego State University or the University of Delaware, toward her eventual goal of teaching overseas. CLS scholars are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in future careers.

Critical languages are less commonly taught in U.S. schools, but essential for America’s engagement in the world, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The 14 critical languages are: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu.

Cordeau’s nomination for the CLS award was made possible by the efforts of the College’s International Education Programs (IEP) office directed by Dr. Sabuur Abdul-Kareem. This is one of several programs that the IEP office has brought to campus to give students opportunities for study abroad and the study of world languages.

“We are very proud and very happy that Mikaila was able to take advantage of this opportunity to study abroad and represent the College,” said Dr. Abdul-Kareem.

To learn more about the College’s international programs and partnerships, contact Dr. Abdul-Kareem at 610-355-7143, or sabdulkareem@dccc.edu.

(Photo Caption: Mikaila Cordeau (center) adds a pinch of salt to a meal while in Indonesia.)

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