News & Stories
Vanessa Rice
April 21, 2022

German Studies and History Student to Travel to Turkey on Prestigious Scholarship

As the first ever Berry recipient of the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) — sponsored by the U.S. Department of State — Vanessa Rice ’23 has the unique opportunity to travel to Ankara, Turkey, for nine weeks to study the Turkish language. “Having lived 12 years of my life overseas as a military brat, I resonated with the CLS Program’s mission of sending students abroad to learn languages critical to U.S. diplomacy,” she says. This will serve her well as she plans a diplomatic career representing U.S. interests abroad.

Q. What motivated you to apply for the CLS Program?

A. My current career goal is to become a foreign service officer, which involves living overseas and supporting the United States’ diplomatic endeavors. I discovered the Critical Language Scholarship while researching summer internship opportunities that could launch me towards that goal.

Q. What is the particular focus of your program?

A. My interest in the Turkish language stems from the diplomatic connections that exist between Germany and Turkey. The two countries are significantly intertwined through exchanges of people, culture and food. My cohort will get to travel around Turkey and practice speaking with assigned language partners.

Q. What are your long-term career plans, educational or professional?

A. Currently, I aim to become a foreign service officer. My experiences growing up overseas in Italy, South Korea and Germany instilled my love of adventure and language-learning. Languages equip people with new vocabularies to express themselves and broaden their capacities for connection. I have studied Italian, Korean, Mandarin, French and German via immersion into local schools. In the United States, I have studied Spanish, and I continue to grow my German fluency.

Q. Why is the study of German and history important in achieving these goals?

A. Studying history is vital to constructing international relationships because connections require context. Understanding historical context can create rapport, inform communication and inspire outreach strategies. Fluency in foreign languages and knowledge of world history can allow insight into the thought processes of foreign leaders, especially concerning political, economic and military decision making. Both disciplines are critical to diplomacy.

Q. How are you benefiting from Berry’s History PLUS program (concentration in justice)?

A. Berry’s History PLUS program highlights how history is foundational and valuable to pioneering our future in every field of study. … I have minored in business and used historical analysis to craft case studies of international enterprises. The program’s emphasis on pairing applicable knowledge with practical skills has prepared me for a dynamic, interdisciplinary career.

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