Leela Cullity Younger'24 was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship where she will be studying Hindi in Jaipur, India intensively for 3 months where she will be placed in homestays and given cultural and language immersion experiences.
Why did you choose to apply for this award?
I've wanted to further my language learning in Hindi for over a year now and the Critical Language Scholarship seemed like the best opportunity to do so as it is a fully-funded opportunity in India.
Briefly describe the work you will be doing on your fellowship.
I will be studying Hindi in Jaipur, India intensively for 3 months where I will be placed in homestays and given cultural and language immersion experiences. I will be taught by individuals at the American Institute for Indian Studies and will have to take several proficiency tests throughout the experience to make sure I am at a secondary level by the end of the program.
What are you most looking forward to during your time as a fellow?
I am looking forward to being able to hold more meaningful conversations in Hindi but also to participate in the homestay experiences as I believe it will be very meaningful to connect with the families who are housing me and I'm also excited to practice my Hindi skills with them. I am also excited to meet like-minded students who have wanted to study Hindi but haven't been able to at our host institutions.
How have your experiences at Oxy prepared you to apply for this award?
To be competitive for the award, I had to map out how I would use my Hindi language skills in my future academic endeavors. My Qualitative Research Methods course with Professor Logvinenko allowed me to design a study on textbook analysis in India, doing this course allowed me to realize that Hindi language skills would be incredibly meaningful for this research, and mentioning this in my application was helpful.
What advice would you give future applicants about the application process?
I think three main things made my application competitive. First, I didn't overly stress how much I wanted to go to India in my application, I think CLS weeds out students who just want a free trip to India. Second, I emphasized the different things I am doing right now to further my language learning-- for example, I elected to do Hindi tutoring this semester so that CLS knew I am dedicated to the language. Third, I had so many people read my essays to check for edits! The CLS Facebook group has many alumni who offer to read over your essays and I utilized the fellowship's office and appreciated Jennifer Locke's advice on how to direct my essays.