Critical Language Scholarship

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Students spend eight to ten weeks abroad studying one of 15 critical languages. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.

The CLS Program is part of the U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers. CLS plays an important role in preparing students for the 21st century’s globalized workforce and increasing national competitiveness.

Languages include Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, Urdu.

Requirements for the Critical Language Scholarship include:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen or national at the time of your application. Others including Permanent Residents, are not eligible, even if they anticipate naturalization by the beginning of the program.
  2. Be enrolled in an accredited U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate (associate’s, bachelor’s) or graduate (master’s, doctoral, professional degree) level at the time of your application.
  3. Must submit two recommendation forms

Some languages programs require previous study based on level of proficiency

  • Beginning: No previous study of the language, or less than one academic year of study or the equivalent.
  • Advanced Beginning: At least one academic year of target language study or the equivalent.
  • Intermediate: At least two academic years of target language study or the equivalent.
  • Advanced: at least three academic years of target language study or the equivalent

The CLS Program covers most of the costs of participating in its overseas institutes, including:

  • International and domestic travel between the student’s U.S. home city, Washington, D.C, and the CLS Program site.
  • Visa application fees
  • Costs associated with the mandatory pre-departure orientation in Washington, D.C.
  • Language instruction, room, board, program sponsored travel within the host country
  • All entrance fees for program activities Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) language assessments
  • U.S. academic credit issued through Bryn Mawr College

The following expenses will not be covered by the CLS Program: U.S. passport fees and the cost of medical exams and any follow-up visits necessary to pass the medical review process, as determined by the CLS program.

More information regarding this scholarship can be found here:

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