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Long Beach Grad Wins Scholarship for Turkish Study

With a master’s degree for counseling earned, Long Beach State student soon travels to Turkey for an immersion language program as part of U.S. government’s effort to increase cultural exchanges.

In less than a week, Cal State Long Beach graduate Ananzah “Anne” Talavera will depart Long Beach for Turkey to study the country’s language after being awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship.

Having just received a master’s degree in counseling from CSULB last month, Talavera will now travel to the TÖMER Institute located in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, to study a language spoken by more than 220 million people worldwide, with written texts estimated to be more than a millennia old, according to the Turkish Language Institute.

The fully-funded eight-week program commences Aug. 19.

 “I am so thrilled and excited to be a recipient of this scholarship,” Talavera said in a statement. “I feel fortunate to be able to expand my knowledge, explore a new culture, continue my commitment and passion in international education, and gain new and diverse learning experiences.”

CLS scholarships were awarded to about 575 undergraduate and graduate students nationwide this year for the purposes of studying an array of critical languages in 14 different countries.

Critical languages are categorized as those where the need for trained speakers exceeds the number available, including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi and several others.

The program goes beyond simple instruction by immersing awardees in the culture and providing enrichment opportunities.

Overseen by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the CLS is meant for those who plan on future careers utilizing language skills they acquire through the program, with a goal of increasing the amount of foreign-language speakers in America and promoting cultural understanding, according to the web site.

“Upon completion of the CLS Program and my return to the United States, I will use my experiences and learning to serve students better as I will have a greater understanding and awareness of their issues and needs in the context of their language and culture,” Talavera said in a statement. “I will also seek to continue advocating for increased awareness of international education and global perspectives as critical issues in higher education.”

A Long Beach Poly High graduate of 1998, Talavera went on to Long Beach City College where she began working as a graduate student assistant for the International Student Program. She later became the program specialist and designated school official, serving more than 200 international students from 2011-2012 as a counselor, according to a statement.

Talavera also received attended UC Berkeley, earning a bachelor’s degree in international and development studies there in May of 2002.

Now with a new master’s degree in counseling and option in student development in higher education in hand, Talavera said she is looking forward to a future career working with Turkish speakers in America, and hopes to form partnerships with Turkish universities and colleges to encourage cultural exchanges and study abroad programs, according to a statement.

“In my role as a counselor and advisor in higher education, I have served many international students. Turkish international students continue to study in the U.S. in increasing numbers,” Talavera stated. “Through language training and cultural immersion, I hope to develop positive rapports and build relationships with those I encounter.” 

For more information about the CLS program, click here.

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