Fork Union Military Academy sophomore Ethan Schroyer has been awarded the US Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth Scholarship. The Initiative is a highly competitive and prestigious government funded scholarship that gives a small number of qualified and selective students the opportunity to immerse overseas for a period of time in a nation where a language that is critical to national security and diplomacy is spoken.
Schroyer will travel to Jordan this summer to study Arabic.
“Since Jordan borders Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Palestinian areas, I am ecstatic to hopefully gain a sense of cultural and geopolitical comprehension from interactions with those who have far greater understanding than I will ever gain from a classroom,” said Schroyer. “My time in Jordan will be spent primarily in Amman, studying both Modern Standard Arabic, and the colloquial dialect known as Shami or Levantine Arabic. I will be living with a Jordanian host family, which I am extremely excited for as I seek to become as immersed as I possibly can to gain a personal insight and understanding of the elements of Shami Arabic, Arab culture, Islam, regional history/conflicts, and so much more!”
The Initiative was introduced by George W. Bush in 2006. The annual acceptance rate for the program is typically 15-percent of the applicants which includes summer and year-long students. The Initiative aims to inspire selected students to utilize their language in careers within diplomacy, global studies, and national security. Alumni have reported many scholarships and acceptances to prestigious universities.
The scholarship offers languages such as Arabic dialects, Mandarin, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Persian (Tajiki), Russian, and Turkish. The countries/locations that students will commonly travel to in accordance with a selected language are China, Taiwan, South Korea, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Indonesia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Jordan, Morocco, and Egypt.
“In all honesty, growing up I wanted to live a rather adventurous adult life serving overseas in less commonly traveled nations and the Middle East,” said Schroyer on why he picked Jordan. “From having a military father who spent much of his career overseas and having a group of Syrian Bedouin cousins who spent a large amount of time with me as a young boy, I was educated at a young age on mature and complex topics, from warfare and ideology to world religions and cultures.
“This has led me to seek a career and lifestyle in government service overseas helping foreign policy makers understand foreign conflicts, cultures, people, and nations.
“I wanted to pursue my goals for my education and career as early as I possibly could. I wanted to do this through immersive language study, so I found an opportunity to study a critical language of my choice, live in a less commonly traveled nation, and prepare for the career/lifestyle I hope to live. I am very grateful for this opportunity and scholarship.”