US students to talk Indian
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US students to talk Indian

This summer US students will be learning Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu, writes Sanjeev K Ahuja.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 17:38 IST

Students from American universities will be learning Indian languages during their summer programme in the country. The US Department of State and the Council of American Overseas Research Centres (CAORC) have included Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu in the critical-need languages list for American students visiting the country for their summer studies.

The American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), Gurgaon will be coordinating the programme.

Established in 1961, the AIIS was founded by W. Norman Brown who is a Sanskrit professor at the University of Pennsylvania. The institute is run by a group of American scholars who are involved in programmes of Indian studies at leading American universities. The institute shifted base to Gurgaon in 1998 from Chicago.

The summer schedule starts from June 9. The AIIS is expecting a large group of American students for the programme.

As part of the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI), the US government is trying to expand the number of Americans studying critical-need foreign languages in their interest of national security and increasing global competence.

Poornima Mehta the director-gener al of AIIS, Gurgaon told HT that even before the US government announced the NSLI, the number of American students coming to India for learning Indian languages had seen a decent rise.

Hindi and Urdu are the most sought after courses, she added.

"But this year we are expecting a huge turnout because of the NSLI. Earlier the students had to arrange for their own resources for summer programmes but now because the US government is funding these programmes through projects like the NSLI, we will have better turnout," Mehta added.

The AIIS organises language classes in Jaipur, Lucknow, Kolkata, Madurai, Vizag, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram and Pune.

Prior to NSLI, the deadline for Americans students was January 31, 2006 and 29 Americans had enrolled themselves for the course. "But with NSLI setting new deadline of March 7, 2006 the number of applicants is sure to increase.

The CAORC has made it clear that the recipients of the scholarships will be expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their critical language skills in their professional careers.

First Published: Mar 17, 2006 17:38 IST