Fulbright to Instruct Intermediate Hindi at UM

May 16, 2016

Surbhi Jain will arrive from India in the fall to teach intermediate Hindi at UM. MISSOULA – The University of Montana will offer intermediate Hindi for the first time with the arrival of a new Fulbright Fellow and teacher’s assistant from India during the upcoming school year. 

Surbhi Jain will teach elementary and intermediate Hindi in 2016-17 as part of UM’s South and Southeast Asian Studies in the Liberal Studies Program.

UM first offered elementary Hindi classes this year, taught by Fulbright teacher’s assistant Gaurav Misra, and became one of the four universities in the nation allotted a Hindi instructor.

Jain, who is 23 years old and has never travelled beyond India before, holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English literature. She is from Uttar Pradesh, the Hindi heartland, but, since her father is in the Indian Air Force, has lived in many parts of India, including Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.

“The different regions of India possess wonderful rich cultures of their own – cultural beliefs and practices inherited over thousands of years,” Jain said. “While living in these cultures and interacting with them, we learn of things we have never heard before.”

Jain’s native language is Hindi. She is interested in organizing the celebration of Indian festivals on campus and introducing Missoulians to the different regional cuisines of India.

“The diversity of India is a universally known fact,” Jain writes. “It gives me immense pleasure in saying that I have had a firsthand experience with it, which makes me feel incredibly proud of being an Indian.”

Jain’s courses, LHS 191 and 291 in the fall and MCLG 191 and 291 in the spring, will build on the parts of Hindi taught by Misra.

Jain and Misra are funded by Fulbright and brought to UM at the request of the South and Southeast Asian Studies program. The program hopes to continue applying for instructors to teach the Hindi 100- and 200-level sequences in the future.

Hindi, the national language of India, is the third-most spoken language in the world. It is an Indo-European language, connected through a common ancestor to European languages, including English. It is almost completely phonetic and written exactly as it is spoken, with every letter of the alphabet standing for just one sound. 

For more information on the courses, call Ruth Vanita, professor in UM’s Liberal Studies Program, at 406-243-2171 or email ruth.vanita@umontana.edu.

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Contact: Ruth Vanita, professor, UM Liberal Studies Program, ruth.vanita@umontana.edu; G.G. Weix, professor, UM Department of Anthropology, 406-243-6319, gg.weix@mso.umt.edu.