Dan Rudiak, a 2023 graduate in International Relations and Modern Languages and Literatures (Arabic), spent last fall studying abroad in Meknes, Morocco on a Boren Scholarship. The nationally competitive scholarship, which he won with the help of Lehigh’s Office of Fellowship Advising (OFA), funds the intensive study of language abroad for U.S. university students.
Rudiak’s study abroad experience included engaging in Arabic studies, living in a homestay, and immersing himself in Moroccan culture. He studied in the Arab American Language Institute in Morocco, taking classes in Modern Standard Arabic and Moroccan dialect for 25 hours per week. He refined his language proficiency even further by frequenting the local markets and working at the artisanal pottery house nearby. “It was really pushing me to get out of my comfort zone,” said Rudiak. “That’s how you really learn the language, by being fully immersed.”
Lehigh’s Study Abroad office assisted Rudiak in finding his Morocco program, and OFA assisted in curating the optimal application for the Boren Scholarship. His program, which furthered his career interests by testing him in a language critical to U.S. security, was a replication of the Critical Language Scholarship he won the previous year with the help of OFA. “[OFA] was really helpful. You tell them your goals and aspirations, and they help line you up with a program.”
Rudiak was the Battalion Executive Officer for Steel Battalion Army ROTC and now serves as Second Lieutenant for the U.S. Army after graduating last spring. He often urged his fellow cadets to engage with OFA to explore international programs like the Critical Language Scholarship and Project Global Officer, which furthered his own academic interests as well.