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Two Awarded Latin American Studies Fellowship

The Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) awarded a Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) to International Studies majors, Ellen Noe and Katie Drown. This fellowship pays for tuition for the 2012‐13 Academic Year! They have shared their application essays to assist other students who are interested in applying for this fellowship!

Founded in 1962, the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) has developed and organized a large number of instructional, research, and outreach activities focusing on Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico. More than 100 faculty members are involved in the program, 30 from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the rest distributed among 14 academic units. The Center CLAS offers summer and academic year fellowships.

Learn more about the FLAS Fellowships offered by the Center for Latin American Studies.

Latin American Studies FLAS Fellowship to Study Quechua

Ellen Noe

"In the Fall of 2009 I began my journey at Ohio State as a part of the International Affairs Scholars program (IA). From what I had learned about IA, I knew that I would be living with students who shared some of the same interests, would have the opportunity to attend international themed events, and would be able to study abroad during my first year. What I did not know was that the experiences that IA would provide me with would truly shape my life, my interests, and the manner in which I view the world.

I took full advantage of the program and the resources it provided me. During winter quarter of freshmen year I found myself learning about Bolivia, a country that I had heard of but knew nothing about. During the course I found myself thoroughly interested in the material, specifically the history of the government and the effects of different domestic and international policies in the country. Additionally, I became infatuated with the role indigenous people play in Bolivian society: culturally, politically and economically.

Traveling to Bolivia during spring break was my first academic experience in Latin America, and after only ten days I knew it would not be my last. The experience instilled in me the desire to learn more about Latin America as a whole, and it changed my goals academically. I decided to concentrate on studying Spanish and changed my major to Development Studies. I knew if I could master the language, learning about the culture and people would become even easier.

My positive experience in IA prompted me to stay involved with the program and to take on a leadership position. Currently, I lead a group of second year students in planning International Night, one of the feature events each quarter. During fall quarter the focus of our event was Mexico and Día De Los Muertos. The event provided students the opportunity to hear from a speaker about Mexican culture, learn a traditional Mexican dance, make sugar skulls, and eat Mexican food. Because of my positive experience in Bolivia, I decided to study abroad in the Dominican Republic during Winter quarter 2011. My experience in the Dominican was very different than my experience in Bolivia and it gave me the opportunity to attend a local university and live amongst the Dominican people. This experience allowed me to learn not only from the classes that I was taking, but also from the daily interaction I had with students and community members.

My experiences in Latin American have inspired me to learn as much as I can about the region. This interest has been reflected in my course work at Ohio State. I have taken courses with a focus on Latin America in Spanish, History, Economics, and now Quechua. When I learned that Ohio State offered Quechua I jumped on the opportunity, as I knew it would provide me with language skills that would give me the chance to return to South America and work with the people that I had found so fascinating before. The Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship will allow me to continue my study of the language and region that I have come to know and love.

My Quechua and Spanish skills, along with my knowledge of the region will allow me to pursue my dream of one day working and living in Latin America. In the short term, I would like to return to Bolivia and work in development, possibly with a local NGO or an American based organization. I would also like to attend graduate school for Latin American Studies, or International Development with a focus on Latin America. In the long term I would like to work in higher education either in Study Abroad, or as a Professor."

Latin American Studies FLAS Fellowship to Study Portuguese

Katie Drown

Katie Drown is a junior majoring in World Economy & Business and Portuguese. She received the Foreign Language & Area Studies Scholarship for the 2012‐13 Academic Year. Here is her FLAS essay.

"In my bedroom I have only two items hanging on my walls. One is a Brazilian flag and the other is a 2.5x3 foot map of Brazil. I developed a passion for Brazil while living there from August 2009 until June 2010 as a Rotary Exchange Student. I lived in the city of Piracicaba, San Paulo. While there I attended high school and language school. I participated in a school play and took dancing lessons at two different schools. Towards the second half of my stay I began to sing in malls and night time cafés with a talented two man band. I performed for Rotary events as well as a few club events that my host mother was a part of and participated in my host cousin's piano recital at a renowned music school in Piracicaba. In February of 2010 I got a job in a language school where I taught English for four months.

Before living in Brazil I did not speak Portuguese. Within three months of living there I was able to hold intermediate level conversations and I was advanced in my ability to understand. After ten months my language and comprehension skills were advanced and I was able to read and write in the language. Since coming to OSU I have continued to study and improve my Portuguese. In my first quarter of my freshman year I was placed in Port 102 and in the four quarters since then have advanced my way to Portuguese 450, which I completed this Fall. Outside of class I practice speaking on Thursdays at Bate Papo, an OSU Portuguese speaking group. I also keep in contact with my host families and friends from Brazil and fellow exchange students with whom I speak in Portuguese. Here at school I have a small group of friends outside of class and clubs with whom I practice. My reading and writing skills have improved since my time abroad, however I feel that I am losing comfort and agility in speaking the language.

My two majors greatly represent the commitment I have to Brazil. I am double majoring in International Studies with a specialty in World Economy and Business and in Portuguese. With this dual degree I would like to work between Brazil and the U.S. In 2009, while visiting Rio de Janeiro, I came across a small shoe store that at that time only had two stores in Rio. The style of shoes they made and the quality impressed me greatly. Since that day I have wanted to bring that small business's products to the U.S. I realize that the probability that I will have a chance to work with that specific business in the future is low, but I am confident that there is a copious amount of other small businesses that deserve international attention.

I would like my future career to involve discovering excellent small businesses and linking them with a financially supportive American company that would make them international or at least bring their business to the U.S. I also have great interests in musical performance and theatre and would love to do work that would involve one or both of these two things. I have a more immediate goal to work as a translator or guide at the World Cup and/or the Olympics in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

I am requesting the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship to support my study of the Brazilian language and business during the summer of 2012, and during the 2012‐2013 academic year. In order to meet my career goals, I must further my language skills as well as be exposed to the culture of the Brazilian business world. The opportunities afforded by the FLAS fellowship would be an essential contribution to these career goals."