Two OU students earn Boren Scholarship Awards for study abroad

Two OU students earn Boren Scholarship Awards for study abroad
Boren Scholarship

Oakland University students Adam George and Elee Younes recently received Boren Scholarships totaling nearly $40,000 to fund their study abroad programs in Tanzania and Morocco. 

Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 for U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are vital to United States interests and to study critical languages.

"The Boren Scholarship is the nation's premier educational opportunity for undergraduates interested in language and area studies. Not only will Adam and Elee have their studies fully paid for, they are guaranteed a career in their field with the federal government after graduation," said Alex Zimmerman, OU’s director of International Education.

Adam George

Adam George will study in Tanzania after attending an intensive Swahili program at the University of Florida.

George, a senior from Waterford, will participate in the African Flagship Languages Initiative, spending the summer at the University of Florida in an intensive Swahili program before going to Arusha, Tanzania for fall semester, where he will study at the MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation. He is an international relations major minoring in African History and French language.

“My coursework will be singularly devoted to garnering proficiency in the language of Swahili,” said George. “I will be engaging in a four-month cultural-lingual immersion program. I will have the opportunity to live with a host family while in Arusha, explore Tanzanian geographical endowments and speak only Swahili while abroad. The scholarship requires that students use only their target language while engaging in any official activity. I do hope to learn much more about the Tanzanian political system, history, and function while abroad.”

Younes, a junior from Rochester Hills, will study Arabic in Rabat, Morocco for the 2017-18 academic year at Qalam wa Lawh, a language center that offers courses in Modern Standard Arabic as well as Darija, the dialect of Arabic spoken in Morocco. He is double majoring accounting and finance, with a minor in economics.    

“I decided to study abroad because I travel a lot and enjoy experiencing different cultures for extended periods of time and understanding unique perspectives from different places around the world,” said Younes.  “I picked Morocco because of how culturally vibrant it is. It is an extremely old country with a lot to see – coupled with the fact it has a variety of climates: Coast, mountains and Sahara Desert, which makes it an extremely interesting area.”

Elee Younes

Elee Younes, pictured in front of the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon in Greece, will study Arabic in Rabat, Morocco during the 2017-18 academic year.

On-site language immersion through study abroad is an efficient way to learn and improve foreign language skills.

“Studying abroad is undeniably the best way to hone one's language skills and reach a high level of proficiency. Unfortunately, a study abroad experience may be waylaid due to financial constraints. The Boren Scholarship and other study abroad scholarships make it possible for students to participate in this essential experience,” said Jennifer Law-Sullivan, Ph.D., associate professor of French and chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

“The fact that the Boren Scholarship is a national and merit-based award speaks highly to the academic prowess of our OU students who have received the scholarship and also the guidance those students received from our International Education office.”

In exchange for the scholarship, Boren Scholars are required to work in the federal government in a position with national security responsibilities for at least one year. George plans to fulfill his service in a national security role and Younes hopes to work for the State Department or join the Peace Corps.

“I am searching for a job that will allow me to engage in diplomatic affairs,” said George.  “One that will allow me to further American interests through preventive measures such as a development worker for the United States Agency for International Development or as a conflict and resolution worker in the Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization.”

The Institute of International Education (IIE), on behalf of the National Security Education Program (NSEP), awarded 194 David L. Boren Scholarships to undergraduate students and 114 David L. Boren Fellowships to graduate students to add important international and language components to their educations by enabling them to study overseas in world regions critical to U.S. interests. They will study 36 different languages, including Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Swahili, and Korean.  Nationwide, fewer than 10 percent of applicants receive Boren Awards.
For more information on the Boren Scholarship, visit the Boren Website To find out more about study abroad programs, visit or the International Education Facebook page.