May 15, 2024

Goucher student earns nationally competitive Critical Language Scholarship

Esther Everson ’25 will continue to deepen their global perspective in Meknes, Morocco, this summer as part of the prestigious program

When Esther Everson ’25 is asked what the highlights of their Goucher experience are, two things come to mind: their work on the Student Engagement Team and their classes.

“Every class I take offers so much to increase my critical global perspective,” they say. 

Everson will continue to deepen their global perspective in Meknes, Morocco, this summer as part of the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program in which Everson was selected to participate. 

The U.S. Department of State sponsors the CLS Program, which provides opportunities for American college students to study languages and cultures essential to America’s engagement with the world. American college students spend eight to 10 weeks learning one of 13 languages abroad each summer. The nationally competitive program has an acceptance rate of less than 10%. 

“When I hear the words ‘intensive’ and ‘immersion,’ I am excited,” said Everson. “A key point of CLS is increasing cross-cultural understanding, and through my language and culture studies, that is a lot of what I aim for.”

Everson is from Minnesota and was drawn to Goucher because of the college’s 100% study abroad and the faculty. They are a French transnational studies major, Arabic studies minor, and secondary education certificate student. 

Everson credits the faculty, including Professor Flo Martin, Associate Professor Zahi Khamis, and Assistant Professor Clay Chou, and the Office of Global Education staff, including Hyemee Kim and Jacob Bunz, for helping them think more critically about cross-cultural communication and navigating a pluralistic world. 

In Morocco, they hope to gain a more nuanced perspective of their French studies. They plan to use the experience to further their preparation for their work after graduation next year. 

“In the long term, I hope to use the skills from this program to work with the refugee population in my home of the Twin Cities, Minnesota, and have some more language-learning tricks up my sleeve so that I can become proficient in not only Arabic but also other needed languages in the area, such as Hmong and Somali,” they said.  

Everson hopes to become a public school foreign language teacher. They have already completed three education fieldwork internships during their time at Goucher, including one internship abroad as an assistant in middle school English (as a foreign language) classrooms in Strasbourg, France.

“My classes and internship [in Strasbourg] taught me so much. My classes covered globalization, international relations, history, and how those domains cross into economics, culture, and politics,” said Everson. “And my internship was perfect. I worked with lovely teachers teaching students English for the first time. The school was in a largely immigrant area, so most of my students or their parents were from Morocco, Algeria, or Chechnya.”

In the fall, Everson plans to use their new language learning and cultural communications skills when they return to Goucher’s campus and resume their role as the president of the Al-Jaalia Arabic Club they co-founded. Everson will also serve as president of the Student Engagement Team next academic year.