Students win foreign language study awards

Senior James Kuras, junior Mark Simeone and freshman David Myers have all been awarded highly competitive foreign language awards to study abroad this summer - an unprecedented accomplishment at Geneseo.

Kuras and Simeone have both been awarded the U.S. State Department Stipend for Critical Languages. Kuras will be traveling to Turkey and Simeone is headed to Russia. Both will engage in intensive studies of their respective languages. Myers is the first SUNY student to be accepted to the Japan-America Youth Conference, now in its 62nd year.

According to foreign language professor Cynthia Klima, Geneseo has never had students accepted to either of these programs.

"There are a lot of untapped funds for foreign languages that are often hard to find," said Klima. "Most of these programs I see more often at large schools and not small schools like this, so I think it really speaks well for Geneseo."

"It's going to be an intensive language program," said Simeone. "I'll be taking classes every day specifically at the level of Russian I'll be studying."

Simeone, an international relations and political science major, studied abroad in Moscow last year and said he hopes to use the program as a stepping stone to an eventual career with the state department. He said he does not yet know where he will be studying, but expects a placement in Astrakhan.

Kuras, a geography major, studied abroad in Turkey last year and said he would like to move there after graduation. He will be studying at Y?ld?z Teknik Üniversitesi in Istanbul.

"They say to be prepared for a very rigorous program," Kuras said. "I think it will be a good experience to become fairly fluent. They compare the eight weeks of it to about a full year of language instruction."

The Japan-America Youth Conference is not a language-intensive study, but rather a conference with round table discussions on important global issues. Myers, a political science major, will have to prepare a paper to present at the conference and will be traveling through four major Japanese cities in four weeks.

"Ever since I got into college, I couldn't wait to study abroad," said Myers. "When I heard about this program I was really excited, because when else am I going to get this chance?"

All three programs take place between June and August this summer.