As a high school student, it is required of me to study a foreign language for a minimum of two years. Unfortunately, my school only offered French and Spanish.
I heard about Samskrita Bharati’s foreign language program (known as SAFL) that allowed students to take Sanskrit as a foreign language, and enrolled in the course.
Through online classes and weekly conference calls, I was able to improve upon my Sanskrit in the matter of two short semesters. My ability to converse comfortably in Sanskrit with others is much better now, as is my ability to write about various topics in Sanskrit. High schools generally allow students to take languages that are offered by registered organizations (like Samskrita Bharati) and fulfill the language requirement required to get into college.
SAFL is two semesters long, and lasts throughout the school year. At the end of two years, a certificate is mailed to the student which can be given to high school counselors. This document certifies that the student has successfully completed two years of Sanskrit, and may receive full credit for the said two years.
Taking Sanskrit as my foreign language has been extremely beneficial to me. I have been able to practice and improve upon my conversational and written Sanskrit skills with great teachers, and have been able to get school credits for learning Sanskrit as well.
(Varija Yelagalawadi is currently a senior at Leigh High School in San Jose, CA and a third year student in the SAFL program).