Three Berkeley Graduate Students Receive CSEAS FLAS Awards

September 14, 2023

CSEAS is pleased to announce that three UC Berkeley graduate students have received FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) Fellowships for the 2023-2024 academic year. FLAS Fellowships are a wonderful opportunity for undergraduates and graduate students who are US citizens or permanent residents to study a Southeast Asian language at the intermediate or advanced level, and to undertake related international or area studies coursework. The program is funded by the US Department of Education, and the fellowships are awarded at UC Berkeley annually on a competitive basis for both academic year and summer study. This year’s three awardees, Chyrylle Digsay, Victoria Huynh, and Sydney To, describe the impacts of FLAS in their own words:

Chyrylle Digsay is using her FLAS to study Advanced Filipino as part of her JD program at Berkeley. Chyrylle emphasizes, “I aspire to be a lawyer who has the full capacity and expertise to serve her people. Thus, I applied to the FLAS Fellowship Program because I hope to receive the training and support to become a lawyer who can provide excellent legal services and Filipino translations to her fellow Filipinos. With the FLAS Fellowship, I will be able to refine my Filipino language skills and understanding of Southeast Asian culture which will be significant in my future professional practice.” 

Victoria Huynh’s FLAS supports her study of Advanced Vietnamese as she pursues her doctorate in Ethnic Studies. Victoria relates, “I decided to apply for FLAS in Vietnamese because I realized that I couldn't study issues in my own community without really understanding our histories, knowledge, and ways of moving through the world, expressed in our own languages. My research interests broadly circle around the question of how war and trauma have shaped the lives of Vietnamese people across homeland and diaspora, and our efforts towards reconciliation and healing, whether through spiritual practice, storytelling, or social movements. I don't know that I would have seen these transnational connections without FLAS coursework, in critical conversation with my Ethnic Studies training.”

Advanced Vietnamese is also the language of study for Sydney To, who is a doctoral student in the English Department. Sydney shares, “I'm eager for this chance to take a deeper dive into Vietnam War literature from historically neglected perspectives, particularly works written by Southern Vietnamese and racial minorities in the U.S. I've found the Center for Southeast Asian Studies to be such a vibrant intellectual hub, and I feel fortunate for this chance to continue working closely with Cam Nguyet Nguyen, Hanh Tran, and Peter Zinoman.”

If you are a UC Berkeley student interested in applying for FLAS, please reach out to, and check the CSEAS FLAS webpage for updates about the next application cycle, which will open in early 2024.