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Two TU students to expand worldview, language skills with CLS award

Scott Knowles studied abroad in China during fall 2013.

Scott Knowles studied abroad in China during the fall 2013 term.

Towson University and Honors College students Scott Knowles ’15 and Harpal Bains ’18 each received awards from the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program for fully funded study programs overseas this summer.

They will travel to study in China and India, respectively. Bains’ program in India focuses on Hindi and will run from June 11 to August 10 at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Jaipur, India. Knowles will attend Beijing Language and Culture University to study intermediate Chinese.

Knowles, an economics major and Chinese minor enrolled in the College of Business and Economics, is making his second trip to China, after studying abroad in Chengdu during the fall of his junior year.

“If you do have an interest in challenging yourself and your beliefs, I would highly suggest traveling somewhere new to expand your worldview,” said Knowles. “…in my life I hope to use the language to communicate with other people, share ideas, and grasp a better understanding of the philosophies of China.

A Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics student and biology major, Bains applied for the scholarship to “finally expand my knowledge of a language that I have spoken with family and friends my entire life.”

“I am Punjabi and have not visited India in over 12 years, so my desire to go back and see Punjab all over again as an adult was the main driving force behind my decision.”

The program is a part of a US government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages, a skill that broadens students’ horizons and increases their marketability during job searches.

“Being born and raised here, I have come to realize that my perception of the world has become so US-centered that my knowledge outside of US has become based solely upon media coverage,” noted Bains. “Going abroad introduces the traveler to new opinions, worldviews and lifestyles, showing them that the world is a much bigger place than they would originally think.”

Bains continued, “I hope to use the knowledge that I gain from this trip will help me to build deeper relationships and overcome language barriers with friends and family that I had for years. Aside from relations with friends and family, I hope to use my language proficiency to better interact with patients and coworkers as a health care professional even after my time at Towson.”

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