Marie Mach ’18, a Russian and Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology double major, will spend the 2018-19 school year abroad in Almaty, Kazakhstan, as a prestigious Boren Scholar.
Starting in August, Marie will spend a full year at Al Farabi Kazakh National University taking intensive Russian language classes for her capstone year as part of the Bryn Mawr Russian Language Flagship Program. In addition to Russian phonetics and linguistics training, Marie hopes to enroll in literature and history classes.
“I really look forward to all the research materials and primary sources available to me from this understudied region of the world,” says Marie, who will also be participating in an internship in Kazakhstan, hopefully involving linguistics and translation.
Marie’s interest in the Russian language and the region started in high school, when she won a government scholarship to study Persian in Tajikistan, but during her time there, she found Russian could be used across Central Asia.
“In my opinion, learning a language is like a game, and Russian is a complicated language. It’s a great challenge and I like to master concepts and apply the language to read more historical sources and literature, allowing myself to step into a different universe,” says Marie.
Having already studied in Kazakhstan in the summer of 2016 through Bryn Mawr's Russian Language Flagship Program, Marie has a variety of plans to enrich her time abroad.
“I’ve always been really interested in Central Asia and I found Kazakhstan to be a really interesting environment to be in. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and my host family from my time there two years ago. I hope to learn a bit of the Kazakh language as well as enjoy the music and the arts.”
The summer prior to applying for the Boren, Marie interned at a translation company and enjoyed assisting in large-scale translation projects. She also is an assistant English teacher at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, where she teaches English and creates educational materials.
Marie hopes to work for the government after she returns to the United States and utilize Russian in that capacity, while also hopefully returning to graduate school to study history or linguistics.
“I want to see how my experience abroad forms my future decisions, so I’m not making any plans yet,” Marie says.
Boren Scholarships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. This year, the prestigious scholarship was awarded to four percent of applicants.
Information on the many fellowships available to Bryn Mawr students can be found here.