Nursing major set to depart June 15

Monday, May 1, 2023
Vianca Wahju

Vianca Wahju ’24 will be trading her standard summer vacation this year for an immersive international study experience she hopes will more closely connect her to her heritage.

Wahju, a nursing major at UNH, received a Critical Language Scholarship (CSL) for the language study of Bahasa Indonesia at the Universitas Negeri Malang this summer, a journey she will embark on June 15. Wahju was born in Indonesia before moving to Dover, New Hampshire, and still has family in the region.

“What made me want to pursue the scholarship is to feel connected to my familial and cultural roots,” Wahju says. “I grew up in New Hampshire but most of my family is in Indonesia, and I want to deeply learn about Bahasa Indonesia so I can communicate with not only my family but with the large Indonesian community here in the Northeast.”

According to the CLS website, the CLS Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Students spend 8-to-10 weeks over the summer studying one of 14 critical languages (Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu).

Wahju first heard about the program from a friend who had what she called “an amazing experience.” Beyond strengthening her ability to communicate with loved ones at home and abroad, she is also hoping to utilize her honed linguistic skills to benefit an underserved patient population as she pursues a career in nursing.

“I hope to use my language to help Indonesian patients when I become a nurse, as well, because I think there is a lack of accessibility for them,” she says.

The experience has the chance to be enriching on a number of levels – not only will Wahju be focusing on learning a new language and immersing herself in a culture with deep ties to her family, she’ll be traveling with like-minded college students from throughout the United States, a diverse group of peers that also figures to leave a lasting impression.  

“I am looking forward to experiencing something very new to me,” Wahju says. “I hope to come out of the program with skills I can use throughout my whole life and learn from the students in Indonesia as well as the people in my cohort.”

Interested in pursuing a Critical Language Scholarship? Learn more about this and other opportunities available through the Office of National Fellowships.