Zari Smith is a voracious learner - and he's certainly found a home in the RC's Japanese language program. He's a double-major in Asian Studies (Japanese concentration) and International Studies. He's gearing up for a unique opportunity to prepare for a career in Japanese-English translation: having secured a competitive Critical Language Scholarship, Zari will intensively study Japanese (sound familiar?) in a mix of apartment and homestay living in Hikone, Japan. 

Listen here for Zari's brief interview with Robby about the scholarship, his aspirations for the future, and where his love of Japanese language and culture came from:



"This photo came from my first trip to Japan sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was taken in Shirahige Shrine, Shiga Prefecture. Japan is such a beautiful country, in both rural and urban areas. I took many pictures during the time I was there, but when I saw the torii gate in the water, I just knew this spot was essential to get a picture from (even if it meant crossing an extremely busy road!). Out of all the pictures I took, this was one of the most memorable. "

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. CLS is part of a wider government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are critical to national security and economic prosperity. CLS plays an important role in preparing students for the 21st century's globalized workforce and increasing national competitiveness. CLS is a program of the United States Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is supported in its implementation by American Councils for International Education. For more information, visit