Sydney Millar '19, a Russian major, will spend the 2019-20 school year abroad in Almaty, Kazakhstan, as a prestigious Boren Scholar.
Starting in August, Sydney 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 language classes, Sydney hopes to enroll in art history or anthropology classes.
“My thesis research focuses on ethno-nationalism in Kazakhstan through art, and I would like to continue that work through my internship experience, hopefully at a gallery,” says Sydney, who will be spending the spring as an intern at a nonprofit of her choice.
Sydney’s interest in the Russian language and the region started in high school when she took a class on a whim and was even able to study in Russia.
“I fell in love with the language because it is complicated," she says, "I love that even after nine years, there’s always something new to learn, and I find that exciting.”
Having already studied in Kazakhstan in the summer of 2017 through Bryn Mawr's Russian Language Flagship Program, Sydney is looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and seeing how the country has changed.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how my thesis plays out in real time. With upcoming elections, I am going at an exciting time,” says Sydney.
She also plans on attending Fashion Week and workshops at the university’s arts center.
Sydney hopes to work for the State Department after she returns to the U.S. and utilize Russian in that capacity, while also exploring different career paths with her Russian skills.
“You can do so many things with Russian, and I want to dip my toes into a variety of opportunities like translation or gallery consulting,” Sydney 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.