Macaulay Honors College congratulates Alexandra Ehrreich ’18 (John Jay College) and Alina Shen ’17 (City College) for winning a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). Alexandra will study Arabic in Amman, Jordan and Alina will study Mandarin in Taiwan.
CLS is an intensive overseas language study program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is part of a U.S. government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages.
Alexandra Ehrreich, who is from Fresno, California, is a criminal justice major at John Jay, where she is considering a career in law, defending the rights of people: “While CLS has programs in foreign nations across the globe, this level of immersion is especially important in Middle Eastern countries,” said Alexandra. I consider this three-month excursion the first step in educating myself in cultures, practices, religions, and lifestyles different from my own. Hopefully, this education will continue for the rest of my life.”
Alina Shen is a heritage speaker of Mandarin who grew up speaking the language but says she has forgotten it over time. The Queens native applied to the CLS program after becoming involved with various programs and offices in Chinatown and Flushing. “I often find myself unable to communicate to Mandarin speakers when trying to discuss topics like civic engagement, education systems, and labor organizing, so learning Mandarin became all the more important for communication and community organizing.”