Slavic and Eurasian Studies

Summer 2016 FLAS Fellows Recount Award Impact

Wed, December 21, 2016
Summer 2016 FLAS Fellows Recount Award Impact
FLAS Fellowship

Jessica Topacio Long (MFA candidate in Writing)  “My FLAS grant this summer was a huge help—I’ve never felt so fluent in Russian. I noticed that I was able to have deeper and more nuanced conversations with locals, and better immerse myself in groups of native speakers. For example, I have a good friend in Moscow who is fluent in English—in the past, she would speak to me in English and translate what her friends were saying. This summer, however, I was able to hang out with her group of Russian friends and engage in conversation using more advanced vocabulary. It was really wonderful to see that progress, and to hear them comment on it as well.

Since returning, I’ve been keeping up my language with weekly Skype conversations with a language partner, as well as watching Russian movies and TV shows. I will be enrolled in fourth-year Russian next semester, as well as a Russian literature class that will including reading parts of The Master and Margarita in the original Russian.

In addition, my summer in Moscow encouraged me to consider a career in the Foreign Service. After spending more time with Foreign Service Officers from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, I was inspired to take the Foreign Service Officer Test in October, which I passed. I am confident that my next professional step will make use of my Russian language skills, and I am more committed than ever to building upon the progress I made this summer with a FLAS Fellowship.”

 

Hannah Foster Hannah Foster (MA/PhD candidate in Anthropology): “I spent the summer studying Kazakh at the Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. I'm a graduate student currently and I wanted to study Kazakh because I'm doing research in Linguistic Anthropology on Kazakhstan. Since I studied Russian in my undergraduate career, I needed to learn Kazakh next. The program in Wisconsin was wonderful and I learned so much in a short period of time. In the future, I'm planning on using Kazakh when I go to Kazakhstan as part of the field work requirement in my degree program. I am also currently using it as a research tool while writing my master's report and preparing for my fieldwork. This semester thanks to a Title VI funded tutor stipend in less commonly taught languages, I continued to tutor with my Kazakh instructor from the summer to keep up my skills. Thus far, I've benefited in many ways from the FLAS award and I believe I will continue to benefit from it in the future.”

 

Zachary ReevesZachary Reeves (Dual Masters candidate in Global Policy Studies/CREEES):  “My FLAS award provided the funding necessary for me to study abroad in Kiev, Ukraine. I undertook a program that involved 15 hours a week for language study and a 20-hour internship, so I stayed quite busy. The language study was much needed, as my Russian had become a little rusty, and I need competent Russian speaking abilities if I'm going to excel at my desired goal of working for the State Department. After the completion of the program, I moved up one level and feel much more confident with my speaking ability. Additionally, the work I was contributing to at my internship was recently published, meaning that the FLAS grant directly helped provide both ancillary work skills as well as direct work experience.”

 

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