In addition to learning more about the Chinese language, West Virginia University junior Amy Cheung hopes to integrate herself into the culture when she travels to Shanghai, China this summer.

As one of 575 students across the country awarded the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship, Cheung, of Camp Hill, Pa., will spend approximately 10 weeks in Shanghai.

“Shanghai is a rapidly expanding city, the financial center of China and is currently hosting the World Expo. Many Chinese throughout China will be there, and it will provide a very unique opportunity to meet not just the locals, but also people from all over China,” said Cheung, who is dual majoring in piano performance and Chinese studies.

During her stay, Cheung will take intensive language courses, visit the cultural sights and she plans to “try to live like a Shanghai native.”

“I hope to gain a more thorough understanding of the people, culture and history of China,” she said.

The scholarship is awarded to graduate and undergraduate students who wish to study Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Persian, Russian, Indic and Turkic languages.

Program participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

Approximately 5,300 applications were received for the 2010 program. Students were selected for the scholarships based on merit.

The Department of State launched the scholarship program in 2006 to increase opportunities for U.S. students to study critical-need languages overseas.

The program is part of a larger effort by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to promote mutual understanding and respect between the U.S. and other countries.

The Critical Language Scholarship program is administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers and the American Councils for International Education.

More information is available online at .