The Critical Language Scholarship provides undergraduate, master’s and doctorial students with an opportunity to study abroad and receive training in one of 13 languages. Jodi-Kaye Wade, 21, is the first Florida A & M student to receive the scholarship.
The government-funded program is designed to develop student’s critical language skills for future careers. Wade will travel to Bangladesh for seven to 10 weeks to study Bangla/Bengali.
While in Bangladesh, Wade said he wants to focus on her language skills because she thinks cultural diversity is very important. She said she wants to improve in areas where she can make a difference.
“After graduation from FAMU, I want to work with a United States government agency that will allow me to make a global difference and utilize my foreign language skills,” Wade said. “Being the child of Jamaican parents, I am passionate about international development and finding innovative solutions to old problems.”
Recently, she stepped down as president of Model United Nations Association, an organization focused on international issues.
“It is important for people to know different aspects of the world,” Wade said. “Language opens you up a little more to the culture and the other aspect of that world.”
Studying issues on women’s rights, climate change and economic development is what Wade does in her free time. She wants to be fluent in Mandarin and Arabic to help her reach her long-term goal of becoming a global ambassador.
“Once I achieve something, I keep pursuing more,” Wade said.
Her mother, Iris Smith, admits that she worries about her only child traveling overseas.
“I wonder sometimes if anything happens, how do I deal with it,” Smith said. “I have to trust to God.”
Agnes Coppin, an adviser for MUNA, said she knows Wade’s future will be filled with accomplishments, which will be an inspiration for others.
“She is a great role model for other young people because she is goal-oriented and committed,” Coppin said.
Wade will leave this June and return in August.