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RIT Global

The following RIT students have received a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) for intensive language study during the summer of 2021. The CLS program provides exceptional undergraduate students from universities in the United States with the opportunity to learn languages essential to America’s engagement with the world. With an acceptance rate of less than 10%, the Critical Language Scholarship is one of the most competitive scholarships in the U.S. and the most prestigious language program for U.S. citizens.

Michael BashtaMichael Bashta
Computer Science, College of Computing & Information Sciences

Michael will be studying Russian language through the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. “I pursued this award to advance my Russian-speaking skills, particularly in an immersive environment,” says Michael. His long-term career goals include contributing to the science and engineering world, and he hopes this award will give him the tools needed to advance American interests abroad, especially in technology and cybersecurity. 

Read Michael's blog about his experience

Sarah Sabal
Applied Modern Languages & Cultures, College of Liberal Arts

Sarah will be studying Chinese language at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan. With a major in Applied Chinese Language and Culture and double minors in International Business and Digital Marketing, Sarah is interested in the explosive growth of the Asian business market and the need to develop an accurate understanding of the business environment. “As a future citizen diplomat of the United States, I want my contribution to be as meaningful as possible, which will require an in-depth understanding of the local language and culture to ensure that the messages being transmitted and received are accurately understood,” says Sarah. Studying abroad in the local language will provide her the opportunity to bring back skills and experiences that she can apply directly to her degree program at RIT. “I plan to seek an internship in a Chinese-speaking country before graduating from RIT to understand further how global businesses operate in East Asia and Pacific regions,” she says.

Claudia Sanchez
New Media Interactive Development, College of Computing & Information Sciences

Claudia will be studying Japanese language through a program hosted by Okayama University in Japan. As a New Media Interactive Development major, Claudia’s future career will rely heavily on multidisciplinary teamwork and the insight and innovation of people with a wide diversity of experience. “Language barriers are just one of many facets of accessibility that need to be considered in both media and the world - and when we work through them, the results are rewarding! In that way, I study Japanese to better appreciate what those different from myself have to offer, and in turn, help spread that to others while offering my own contributions,” says Claudia. “I hope to work in Japan in the future. The Critical Language Scholarship is a great launching pad to improve my skills and consider how to incorporate Japanese language in my future career plans,” she says.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically increase the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages.

CLS provides rigorous academic instruction in fifteen languages critical to America's national security and economic prosperity. The program is administered by American Councils for International Education with awards approved by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

RIT students interested in applying for the Critical Language Scholarship should contact Jenny Sullivan (, Director of Education Abroad & International Fellowships.