June 3, 2010
Writer: Writer: Tori Bowman
Kyle Stewart, a Brigham Young University-Idaho junior, has been awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Indonesian in Malang, Indonesia, this summer.
Out of approximately 5,300 applicants, Stewart was one of 575 U.S. graduate and undergraduate students chosen to receive this scholarship. He is also only the second BYU-Idaho student to receive such a scholarship. Students from all states apply and recipients are chosen from various universities and academic disciplines each year.
Stewart feels this scholarship will help him broaden his thinking, increase his language skills, and gain experience for his future career. "This experience will help me to maintain and expound upon the things I already know," Stewart said. He also feels that this opportunity will help him get a better handle on what he wants to do with in his future career.
Because Stewart spent two years in Indonesia as a missionary and speaks the language fluently, he has been labeled as an "advanced" student. His language proficiency will be tested at the beginning of his stay and his classes will be tailored to fit his needs.
Stewart will spend a few days in Washington, D.C., for orientation beginning June 10. Upon arrival in Indonesia, he will spend a minimum of four hours each day at Universitas Negeri Malang taking extensive language courses. Stewart will also be taking culinary, art, music and martial arts courses.
His studies will be augmented with cultural excursions, visits to national parks, and other activities meant to immerse him in the culture as much as possible. During his two-month stay, Stewart will live with a host family and will only be allowed to speak Indonesian.
Stewart's love for the country led him to pursue a degree in international studies with a multi-lingual minor. "These two areas of study are great for returned missionaries because they help them to retain their foreign language skills and find practical ways to integrate their knowledge and experience into their professional pursuits," said Kirk Widdison, a faculty member of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.
The CLS program began in 2006 to give American students more opportunities to study critical-need languages overseas. Critical-need languages are lesser-known languages of countries that have unstable relationships with the U.S. The program is part of a wider U.S. government effort to drastically increase the number of Americans studying and mastering such languages.
CLS Program participants are among the more than 40,000 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.