Two students map their travel

Spiders head to Asia to study critical languages

June 3, 2024


Recent graduate Eli Chancey and sophomore Luke Orris have received prestigious Boren Scholarships to study language in Indonesia and Vietnam.

The Boren Awards, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide scholarships for students studying the languages and cultures of nations that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad programs. Recipients commit to working in the federal government for at least one year following graduation.

Eli Chancey

Chancey, from Charlottesville, Virginia, will study Vietnamese through the Southeast Asia Flagship Language Initiative. He will complete an intensive language course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for eight weeks this summer and continue his studies abroad in Hanoi, Vietnam, this fall.

“Vietnam is a geopolitically critical country, one that is quickly becoming a power in Southeast Asia,” Chancey said.

Chancey was a triple major in political science, French, and mathematics, who studied abroad in France, Prague, and Denmark while at UR. Among his academic accomplishments, he is a recipient of the Spencer D. Albright Book Award for his scholarship in political science. He is interested in a career in international relations, including the State Department.

"The Boren Scholarship is an exciting opportunity to build on my past international and foreign language experiences,” Chancey said.

He’s excited about the beauty and cuisine of the country, and the opportunity to live with a host family and interact with local residents.

Luke Orris

Luke Orris, a sophomore from Boulder, Colorado, will study Indonesian, also through the Southeast Asia Flagship Language Initiative. He will complete a summer program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and then study abroad in the fall in Malang, Java, Indonesia.

“The Boren is a great opportunity to study abroad while learning a critical language that will be useful during a career in public service,” Orris said.

He’s especially looking forward to learning about the people of East Java, seeing the blue fire at the Ijen volcano, and visiting the Borobudur and Prambanan temples.

A double major in global studies and politics, philosophy, economics & law, Orris has also studied Spanish and Portuguese and traveled to more than 70 countries. He spent 10 weeks in Mexico last summer learning Spanish.

He selected Indonesia because he loves the country’s history, cultural diversity, climate, food, and the growing importance of the Indonesian language. “It’s a place I would like to live and work,” Orris said. “I spent one month in Indonesia during my gap year and really enjoyed everything about it.”

Since 1995, 20 University of Richmond students have been offered Boren scholarships or fellowships. UR’s 2024 Boren Scholars were selected out of more than 600 applicants for about 200 awards.