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October 19, 2020 at 10:44 pm

Howard Learning Urdu Virtually for Dissertation Research

Andrew Howard at the Qutab Minar complex in Delhi.

Andrew Howard at the Qutab Minar complex in Delhi.

Ohio University graduate student Andrew Howard is learning Urdu from home this semester.

While Howard, a History doctoral student, had applied for and was accepted by the U.S. State Department’s highly competitive Critical Language Scholarship program (CLS), the emergence of COVID-19 forced the cancellation of regular programming, which places participants with host families abroad in order to allow for language immersion while they study, for 2020. However, in August Howard was offered the opportunity to apply to a virtual Urdu program, which he was also accepted to.

While the format of the program has changed, Howard’s goals have not. He is utilizing this opportunity to learn to read Urdu sources so that he can include them in his dissertation, which analyzes British policy in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Though Howard, who also pursuing a Contemporary History Institute certificate, had hoped to utilize his time in India during the language immersion to conduct research for his dissertation, that research has been put on hold until travel can resume. While he waits, Howard is doing what he can to prepare and improve his skill set.

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