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Department of Economics

University of Mississippi

Economics Major Orion Wilcox Studying Abroad on Critical Language Scholarship

An ever-shrinking world continues to increase the need for individuals to be able to collaborate and compete for jobs in the global market. With this in mind, many American college students are seeking ways to immerse themselves in an additional culture and language.

Getting ahead in this effort is senior economics major Orion Wilcox of Bay St. Louis who is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and was named the 2010-11 Outstanding Student in Arabic. He  traveled to Rabat, Morocco to study this summer at the American Institute for Maghrib Studies and AMIDEAST. Wilcox  plans to work in international development in either the government or private sector.

He is one of six University of Mississippi students who are among 630 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students selected to participate in this summer’s U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship Program. They are spending eight to 10 weeks abroad at intensive language institutes where their chosen critical languages are taught and spoken.

The CLS Program is a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. It provides fully funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to increase language fluency and cultural competency. Particular attention is paid to students from states/regions of the U.S. that have been historically under-represented in the CLS applicant pool and to students from diverse backgrounds and academic majors.

The UM Department of Modern Languages is committed to developing very high language proficiencies in its students, and these CLS scholarships are emblematic of that success, said Don Dyer, chair of modern languages.

“I think it’s fair to say that the University of Mississippi has become a special place for language studies, and its reputation as such is spreading. Many students choose to come to UM now looking to achieve high language proficiencies, and with hard work and dedication, they are able to do just that.”

To learn more about the Department of Modern Languages, visit For more information about the Study Abroad Office, visit