Current and Alumni Foreign Language and Area Studies Students
As a FLAS Fellow at the Center for Global Change, I studied Bangla, the beautiful national language of Bangladesh. Bangla is s language that is heavily spoken in West Bengal, India, and in many Bengali diaspora communities worldwide. Studying Bangla deepened my interest in the Bengali culture and furthered my commitment to understanding South Asia and its people. Simultaneously, learning Bangla made me realize that speaking and understanding that language is one of the essential keys to knowing Bengali culture. Since completing my FLAS year, I enrolled in South and Central Asia-related coursework at the Foreign Service Institute. Cultural and linguistic Bengali knowledge enables me to conduct regular field trips to visit the region and test my language skills in the best possible way: on the ground with native speakers. The FLAS––through both language and area studies training––helped me to hone my regional expertise.
Currently, I serve as a Foreign Affairs Officer at the Department of State, where my career focus is on the nexus of international relations and national security-related to South and Central Asia. Also, I am a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow at the Department of State. In my Civil Service career, my experience with Bangla and related regional area knowledge helped me negotiate a portfolio expansion to include South Asia. This work opportunity will provide me with the necessary professional development, mentorship, and even funding for a Master’s degree. The goal is that all this training and experience culminate with my commissioning as a Foreign Service Officer in 2023. As I prepare for my career growth into diplomacy, I will use my knowledge, skills, and abilities to develop an international service career, perhaps even in the Indian Subcontinent!