Learning how to talk the talk in Oman, Indonesia, China

Alexander Guevara

Alexander Guevara will study at the Noor Majan Training Institute in Ibri, Oman. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

Three students will travel to Oman, Indonesia and China this summer for intensive foreign language studies funded by the U.S. State Department’s Critical Languages Scholarship.

The competitive award places each student in a fully funded 10-week language program with cultural enrichment experiences.

Alexander Guevara, a senior in the Honors College majoring in criminology, law and justice, will study at the Noor Majan Training Institute in Ibri, Oman, where he will focus on Modern Standard Arabic with supplemental instruction in the Omani dialect.

A 2010 campus lecture by an FBI representative inspired him to study Arabic at UIC and through study abroad in Morocco. He graduates next week and plans a career in the Foreign Service or the FBI.

“I’ve always wanted to travel,” said Guevara, who is minoring in international studies.

“Working for the State Department as a Foreign Service officer is a good way of traveling and doing something that I love to do, which would be to help other people.”

Guevara, from Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood, is a 2009 graduate of Hubbard High School.

Osamah Hasan

Osamah Hasan will study the Bahasa language at the State University of Malang in Indonesia. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

Osamah Hasan, an Honors College senior majoring in biological sciences, will study the Bahasa language at the State University of Malang in Indonesia. 

Last year, he traveled to Botswana for study abroad, where he learned the local language, Setswana.

It’s all preparation for his eventual career goal: bringing primary health care to people in developing nations.

Hasan’s interest in Bahasa stems from early childhood experiences meeting Indonesians in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and his ongoing desire to learn more about the region’s culture.

“The identification of my career goals of becoming a medical educator and providing community-based health care around the world served as a catalyst to my continued interest in the country,” he said.

Hasan, who plans to enter medical school after he graduates in 2014, will also compare the effectiveness of Indonesian and U.S. health care programs.

Hasan, of Glen Ellyn, received a Gilman Scholarship for his study abroad. He graduated from Glenbard South High School in 2010.

Michelle Lee

Michelle Lee will travel to the Fuijan province of China to study Mandarin. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

Michelle Lee, an Honors College senior majoring in chemistry, will travel to the Fuijan province of China to study Mandarin at Xiamen University in Xiamen.

She plans to return to UIC fall semester to begin doctor of pharmacy degree studies, and believes enhancing her Mandarin language skills will benefit her future career as a licensed and practicing pharmacist.

“If I know another language, it would definitely help me bridge language barriers and communicate to patients,” said Lee, who studied Mandarin at UIC and also speaks Cantonese.

“I want to be able to find out how I can use my skill set to best help everybody else.”

Lee, who will graduate from UIC in May, has two years of research experience focused on organic synthesis, working with Tom Driver, associate professor of chemistry. A Schaumburg resident, she graduated from Conant High School in 2010.

The Critical Languages Scholarship is part of the National Security Language Initiative, a U.S. government interagency effort to increase the number of Americans mastering critical-need languages.

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