For over ten years, the Critical Language Scholarship Program has helped students accrue language skills abroad. The program funds American undergraduate and graduate students who desire to study in another country. Students of various language abilities are encouraged to apply. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Education. A main part of the program’s mission is to foster the learning and maintenance of critical languages among U.S. students with the hope that students will apply their linguistic skills to their chosen career.
The program supports students who wish to learn one of the following critical languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu. The Arabic and Persian language program is open to students of advanced beginning, intermediate, or advanced levels. The Chinese, Japanese, and Russian languages are only open to students with an intermediate or advanced understanding of the language. All other languages listed above are open to students of any ability level (beginning through advanced).
Any undergraduate or graduate student who attends an institution in the United States is eligible to apply for this scholarship. Students from a variety of different majors and backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Students must be U.S. citizens in order to be considered for the award. Students must also be at least 18 years of age and enrolled in a degree-granting program. All students are required to be in good physical and mental health and submit proof of this via their physician.
Students who would like to receive assistance with their application have a number of options. The first is to look at the following website to determine whether your campus has a CLS Advisor on campus: http://www.clscholarship.org/advisors. If your campus has one, it may be worthwhile to make an appointment. If there is no adviser, you can ask someone in your financial aid or study abroad office for assistance. Students can also watch one of the pre-recorded webinars to obtain additional information. Some webinars are geared towards underrepresented students, students with disabilities, or are for all applicants.
The exact amount of the scholarship varies, but covers most of the cost of the summer. All airfare is covered by the award. This includes airfare from the student’s home to Washington, D.C. to take part in a pre-departure orientation that is required of all recipients. In addition, international airfare to the summer destination is also covered. Additional feed that are covered for all recipients include: language instruction, room and board, visa fees, program sponsored travel within the destination country, and entrance fees for cultural enrichment activities. Some fees, such as the cost of a U.S. passport and a mandatory medical examination fee will not be covered.
Once you are ready to apply for the CLS scholarship, simply head to the following website and complete an online application: https://ais.americancouncils.org/cgi-bin/WebObjects/AIR.woa/wa/login?brand=cls. The 2017 application cycle will open in September 2016. However, students can begin an application online before that time or download a sample copy of the application form to help them prepare for the upcoming cycle.