Studying language abroad

Bilqees Dinkins

Bilqees Dinkins will study advanced-level Korean in Gwangju, South Korea.

Two UIC students were awarded U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships for intensive foreign language study this summer.

The competitive study abroad award will place Bilqees Dinkins, of Chicago (Ashburn), and Maria Folvarska, of Itasca in a fully funded 8-week language program with cultural enrichment experiences.

The scholarships are part of the National Security Language Initiative, a federal inter-agency effort to increase the number of Americans mastering critical-need languages.

Dinkins, a sophomore in the Honors College, is studying advanced Korean at Chonnam National University in South Korea. She began as a self-taught learner of the Korean alphabet and language before gaining formal training at the Korean American Community Services Center in Chicago.

Maria Folvarska

Maria Folvarska will study advanced level Russian in Vladimir, Russia.

Dinkins, a 2015 graduate of Lincoln Park High School, studied Arabic for four years in high school and is minoring in Chinese at UIC. After majoring in political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, she plans to pursue careers involving language translation and international politics.

Folvarska, a senior dual major in history and mathematics and computer science, is studying advanced Russian at the KORA Russian Language Center in Vladimir, Russia.

She is working on a research project about the Canadian Doukhobors, a Russian dissident sect that migrated from the Caucasus region to Canada in the 19th century. She is minoring in French and is a member of the UIC Honors College.

Born in Slovakia, Folvarska is a 2013 graduate of Lake Park High School and plans to attend grad school for Russian history or become a foreign service officer.

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