Read our student spotlight on Boren Fellow Salwa Saba who is studying at the National Taiwan University’s International Chinese Language Program (ICLP) in Taipei, Taiwan.
About Salwa Saba (MSFS ’22)
I was born and raised in Tennessee and also spent part of my childhood in Yemen, where my parents are from. I graduated from Belmont University with a major in International Politics (BA, 2016) and minors in Chinese and Economics. As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to study Chinese in both China and Taiwan with the Critical Language Scholarships. Upon graduating, I received a Fulbright U.S. Student Grant to teach English in an elementary school in Taiwan. That experience sparked my interest in international education, where I spent two years prior to attending Georgetown supporting DC-based international education organizations and their programs in China for American high school students. I am particularly interested in U.S.-China and Cross-Strait relations. At MSFS, I have interned with the U.S. Department of Commerce at the Office of China and Mongolia and the U.S. Department of State at the Office of Taiwan Coordination.
What is your research focus?
At Georgetown, my academics have mainly focused on U.S., China, and Taiwan relations. At present, my Boren Fellowship is dedicated to studying intensive Chinese. I am studying at National Taiwan University’s International Chinese Language Program (ICLP) in Taipei.
How did you learn about the Boren fellowship?
I first heard about the Boren Fellowship through an alumnus of the program during my time in China with the Critical Language Scholarship while I was still an undergraduate. Since then, I decided it was something that I wanted to pursue in graduate school as a way to enhance my language skills before entering the workforce. While SFS graduate students are able to take language courses during their time at Georgetown, I found that I needed to dedicate more time to language learning to be at a higher professional level of proficiency.
How do you hope that the Boren will positively impact your academic studies and or future career plans?
I have always had an interest in working in public service, and I hope that through the Boren Fellowship I can take that first step in pursuing a role that combines both my interests and employs my language skills.
What is one piece of advice you can offer prospective applicants?
Be flexible! I actually first applied to be a Boren Fellow in Beijing in January 2020. I wanted more on-the-ground experience living and studying in China since I had already spent some time in Taiwan through my Fulbright. Due to the ever-changing nature of COVID-19 and border restrictions, I was automatically redirected to Taiwan after reapplying for a new award cycle in 2021. After many delays, I was finally able to enter Taiwan in December 2021! While the delays and uncertainty were frustrating at times, I am glad I made the decision to pursue the Boren Fellowship.