Celebrating Outstanding Achievement: Two Swahili Students Win Prestigious Scholarships!

Robert Herbolich and Natalie Klunke

We are thrilled to announce that two of our students, Robert Herbolich and Natalie Klunke, have been awarded highly competitive scholarships. Robert has been awarded the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). This will provide him with a unique opportunity to travel to Tanzania where he will study Swahili and immerse himself in the vibrant Swahili culture. Alongside other equally motivated students from across the U.S., he will spend 8 weeks over the summer participating in this intensive language and cultural immersion program. CLS covers all the expenses associated with the program so that Robert fully focuses on his studies and cultural experience.  

Natalie has been awarded the esteemed Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, which will provide support for her to study Swahili in the upcoming academic year. The 2022-23 Fellowship will provide a total of $5,000 and up to $10,000 towards tuition and fees.  We are proud of Robert and Natalie’s impressive achievements and excited for the bright futures ahead of them. Congratulations to Robert and Natalie!

Robert Herbolich

As a senior studying advertising with a passion for documentary filmmaking, I am thrilled to have been selected for the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program. In the fall semester of 2021, I began learning Swahili and quickly felt at ease with the language. My interest in East Africa dates back to my high school years when I visited Rwanda in 2018, and I have been eager to return to the region ever since.

The opportunity to study Swahili at CLS in Arusha, Tanzania, is a dream come true, and I am eager to deepen my understanding of the language and culture. Through my current course, Elementary Swahili II, I have gained valuable knowledge about East African cities, environments, weather, and transportation that has prepared me well for my time in Tanzania.

Participating in CLS is a significant step towards achieving my goal of working in East Africa. I am excited to see where this experience takes me and look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.

Natalie Klunke

I am Natalie Klunke, an undergraduate student majoring in Global Studies. My passion for global cultures and language learning inspired me to start learning Swahili during my first year at Illinois. Receiving the FLAS fellowship is a tremendous honor that will support my ongoing journey of learning Swahili and enhance my understanding of East African culture. As a Global Studies major, this fellowship is an excellent opportunity for me to deepen my knowledge of another culture and experience a different part of the world in a more comprehensive way through language immersion.


If you would like to learn more about these opportunities, follow the links below: 

CLS: https://clscholarship.org/languages

FLAS: https://afrst.illinois.edu/academics/fellowship-opportunities



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