OL man to study in Turkey
By Mike Nolan email@example.com June 3, 2012 8:24PM
Hugh Vondracek, who is a student at UIC and recently won scholarship from the U.S. State Dept. for language studies in Turkey for this summer, holds some of the language translation guides and dictionaries he will be using on his trip at his home in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Tuesday, May 15, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 6, 2012 8:39AM
Fluent in Spanish — and able to get by in German and Italian — Oak Lawn resident Hugh Vondracek has won a coveted scholarship from the U.S. State Department to study in Turkey.
The program is aimed at increasing the number of Americans studying and mastering what the State Department describes as “critical foreign languages,” including Chinese, Hindi, Russian and Turkish.
Vondracek will spend 10 weeks in Turkey and be based at the Tomer Institute in Bursa. He said he’ll leave June 6 for Washington, D.C., where he’ll undergo three days of orientation, then travel to Istanbul.
Vondracek, 20, a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is majoring in political science and minoring in international studies. He is planning on studying toward a graduate degree after UIC, and sees his career path ultimately having him working in a consulate or embassy.
He attended elementary school in Chicago, where he studied Spanish. He graduated in 2010 from Richards High School.
Vondracek said that “as my interest in foreign affairs and diplomacy developed” he studied other languages, including German. He said that while he is fluent in Spanish, he has some basic grasp of German as well as Italian and European Portuguese.
The State Department awarded language studies scholarships to 575 undergraduate and graduate students, and more than 5,200 students applied to the program.