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Southwestern Student Receives State Department Scholarship to Study in China

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    Ashley Johnson

Ashley Johnson is the second Southwestern student in three years to be selected for a highly competitive language training program

Ashley Johnson, a junior international studies major at Southwestern, has been selected to participate in a 2012 intensive summer institute in China sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and other organizations.   

The Critical Language Scholarship Program is part of a U.S. government effort to increase the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. The program provides intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences that last seven to 10 weeks.  

Johnson will be studying in Beijing. “I am very excited to finally be able to go to China,” said Johnson, whose studies focus on political science and East Asia. “I am especially excited to be going to Beijing since it is the capital and has preserved so much of its rich cultural history.”  

Johnson said after she graduates Southwestern, she hopes to be accepted into a dual degree program to obtain a master’s degree in international studies and a J.D. in international law. Her eventual goal is to work for the State Department as a foreign service officer.

“To work for the State Department or to do any business with China, fluency in Chinese is a necessary skill,” Johnson said. “The fact that (the CLS program) is fully funded was a huge factor in my decision to apply since so many study abroad programs are very expensive.”  

Only about one out of every 10 students who apply for the CLS program are selected to participate, making it one of the most competitive scholarship programs in the United States. Johnson is the second Southwestern student to be selected for the program in the past three years. Senior Gillian Ring also received a scholarship to study in China in the summer of 2010.