Remember that amazing FLAS promo we posted a little while back? Well, here’s another one!
This time is going to be a little different, however. Rather than just write an amazing blog about all the great things language grants and area studies in general can do for you (I’m going to do that too, don’t worry), I asked my friend Jermaine to sit down with me for a few minutes to talk to me about his studies and what FLAS and similar grants have done for him personally.
Now, judging from the response I got from my Instagram post featuring the man himself, I gather he’s already a pretty popular guy among all my lovely readers (appreciate you!), but, for those who don’t know him, here’s a brief introduction.
Jermaine Butler is honestly one of the coolest guys around, and he was actually the first person at IU that I ever met. Back in the day, he and I were in Intro level Persian together, and his knack for languages made him somewhat of a mentor to me in that class. Before coming to IU, however, he did his undergrad at LSU where he first kicked off his adventures in language learning. Now, he is a PhD student in NELC and an assistant instructor in CEUS.
Okay, now for the article.
Like I said, Jermaine kicked off his travels when he studied abroad during his time at LSU. He was already learning Arabic, so, naturally, he signed up for LSU’s program in Fez, Morocco. While he had an amazing time studying abroad and being immersed in the Moroccan culture, he didn’t actually have any funding for his adventure.
“Back then I had no idea what FLAS even was,” Jermaine said. “LSU has no sort of ‘FLAS’ for any language they offer, so it was kind of up to us to figure everything out for ourselves.”
Luckily for us, Jermaine eventually decided to resume his studies here at Indiana, which, if you haven’t gathered already, is just about the best place you can be if you need a little more fuel for your language learning. Before the university set him up in CEUS, gave him FLAS for Persian studies and a nice teaching job on the side, Jermaine lived in Tajikistan where he studied Persian through the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS).
“My trip to Tajikistan set me on the path to get funding for the past…I don’t know how many years,” he said. “When I came back, that’s when they offered me the Persian TA job, set me up in CEUS and put in me in position to get a Persian FLAS!”
Frankly, he couldn’t recommend doing this enough.
”Apply for CLS. If you aren’t doing anything, all I’m saying is apply for CLS. Have you applied for CLS? (I haven’t, which merited a pretty good eyeroll). It’s completely paid for, so you don’t have to worry about money, and you get to live with a host family.”
Whether it’s FLAS, CLS, or anything else from the plethora of language grants out there, the more grants you get, the more likely you are to get more grants, and Jermaine is a perfect example of that. Those in charge of handing out the money will see you are committed to the language you’re studying, and all of a sudden you become a much better investment, and the rest of the world is at your fingertips!
So, how do you get the ball rolling? Jermaine has some advice for you on that, too. His biggest suggestion: Don’t do it alone!
“Use the resources here at IU to help you succeed in getting these grants. We have so many different workshops and so many knowledgeable people,” he said. “They know what you’re doing right or wrong and want to point you in the right direction…getting advice is paramount.”
If there’s one takeaway you have from this blog, let it be that whatever and wherever your language ambitions are, there are people here that have gone through the same stressful application processes as you and know exactly what you’re dealing with. But, for every stressful application, there are 10 people here to guide you and make sure you have everything you need to make your dreams a reality. That’s pretty neat, if you ask me.