Indiana University's programme for India studies, aimed at training high school students in Hindi and Urdu has received about USD 120 million from the Obama administration. The money has been granted to the University under the 'STARTALK Program' of the US government, which was started by the previous administration of George W Bush, to increase the foreign language proficiency of Americans in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Persian, Turkish, Swahili and Urdu. 'Our goals are for the participating students to acquire the linguistic and cultural competence to communicate successfully in the language and obtain various learning strategies and skills,' said Sungok Hong, a lecturer and Hindi-Urdu language coordinator in the India Studies Program.
'Students will have a deeper understanding of the culture and learn the importance of culturally appropriate behaviour,' said Sungok. Twenty students from the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, California and Hawaii have been accepted for the Hindi and Urdu programme, the university said in a statement. The free summer intensive programme for Hindi and Urdu provides the equivalent of one semester of university-level instruction. Between 22nd June and 17th July, students will meet in 20 hours of classes each week and participate in cultural activities. As part of the curriculum, they will go on field trips to cultural sites and learn about the south Indian classical dance Bharatnatyam, besides Carnatic music, yoga and popular sports such as cricket and kabbadi.