College of Liberal and Fine Arts


UTSA Student Wins Scholarship To Study in Russia

April 13, 2018

Maltseva (left), Kerfai, Nummikoski

Maltseva (left), Kerfai, Nummikoski

Born and raised in Tunis, Tunisia, Mariam Kerfai moved to San Antonio five years ago. Since then, her passion for languages has earned her the fully funded Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program as part of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Kerfai will be attending the KORA Russian Language Center in Vladimir, Russia during the Summer of 2018.

Though Kerfai is fluent in Arabic and French, she wanted to add an additional foreign language to her studies. Russian was presented to her as an option and in the Fall of 2015, Kerfai formally began studying Russian at UTSA with Ms. Anastasia Maltseva, Lecturer 1 of Russian. She continued perfecting the language in the Spring 2016 with Dr. Marita Nummikoski, Director of Undergraduate Language Programs and Associate Professor of Russian.

“Mariam’s perseverance to master everything quickly and efficiently has led to this opportunity,” Maltseva said. “This experience will be yet another challenge she will so effortlessly conquer.”

The CLS program offers a full language and cultural immersion to students through intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences. Additionally, CLS plays an important role in preparing students for the 21st century's globalized workforce and increasing national competitiveness.

“I look forward to a positive, enriching experience by establishing friendships with my host family, language partner, and other peers with the same aspirations as me,” expressed Kerfai. “Most of all, I am eager to improve my linguistic skills and gain deeper cultural knowledge of Russian society.”

Kerfai hopes to use this experience to expand her career goals of becoming an international translator or interpreter.

The Modern Language Studies major and Business Administration minor is set to graduate in the Fall of 2018 and hopes to begin her career in the Peace Corps serving in Armenia as a TEFL Volunteer.


-Andrea Avalos


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