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Five CLS Program participants in Jordan watch the sunset in the desert. ▼  Alumni Profile: Lauren Chow  ▼
The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a summer study abroad opportunity for American college and university students to learn languages essential to America’s engagement with the world.

The CLS Program is part of a 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.

Each summer, CLS provides rigorous academic instruction in fifteen languages that are critical to America's national security and economic prosperity. CLS participants are citizen ambassadors, sharing American values and promoting American influence abroad.


Languages Offered


Students in Jaipur, India

Key Benefits

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Develop Key Expertise

The CLS Program provides its scholars intensive language and cultural instruction in an environment designed to maximize their language gains at every level.

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Career Ready Skills

Alumni apply their critical language skills in a variety of professional fields in public and private sectors as well as government, helping to support America’s competitiveness across the board.

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Citizen Diplomacy

CLS scholars represent the breadth and diversity of the United States. Through personal engagement they help to spread American values and develop mutual understanding with the people of other countries.


Featured Alumni

Lauren Chow
Indonesian 2018
Malang, Indonesia
Dana Fager
Japanese 2011
Kyoto, Japan
Vincent DeLaurentis
Punjabi 2015
Chandigarh, India
Amy Moyer
Bangla 2009
Dhaka, Bangladesh

CLS News and Stories

Alumni Profile: Lauren Chow

Lauren participated in CLS Indonesian in 2018 after teaching with the Fulbright Program in Malaysia for two years. Now an Education Abroad Advisor at Babson College, she uses her experience studying abroad to skillfully guide students.

“As a professional in the study abroad field, I have a...

Posted by Jessica Klink on February 25, 2020


Alumni Profile: Dana Fager

Dana Fager is a two-time CLS Japanese scholar, participating in the program in Kyoto, Japan. After graduating with a degree in International Studies, she went on to study in the Master of Science in Foreign Service program at Georgetown University. She now works at the Department of Commerce as...

Posted by Jessica Klink on February 18, 2020


Alumni Profile: Vincent DeLaurentis

While Vincent was growing up, his family lived close to a Gurdwara—a Sikh temple—which sparked his interest in learning more about the language and culture of the Punjab region. He was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship twice to study Punjabi in 2015 and 2017 in Chandigarh, India....

Posted by Jessica Klink on February 11, 2020


Alumni Profile: Amy Moyer

Amy participated in CLS Bangla in 2009 and 2010 as a graduate student at Lehigh University studying International Education Leadership. Her advisor worked in Bangladesh and sparked her interest in learning Bangla. Amy quickly connected Bangla with her passion for a career in international...

Posted by Jessica Klink on February 04, 2020


CLS in the Press

Student with Aspirations for Foreign Service Spends Year in Indonesia Practicing Foreign Policy

Unable to speak the language, Camille Bismonte (C’21) did not know that when she first travelled to Indonesia for eight weeks in the summer of 2018 that she would end up studying abroad there for the entirety of her junior year. Now a Boren Scholar, she has won a speech competition, represented the United States at the 12th Annual Bali Democracy Forum, and met the President of Indonesia.

Shared from Georgetown University News, February 24, 2020


Michael: Software Consultant Leading with Japanese

Profile of CLS Japanese alumnus Michael Mauer

Shared from Lead With Languages, February 24, 2020


Student with Aspirations for Foreign Service Spends Year in Indonesia Practicing Foreign Policy

Profile of CLS Indonesian alumna Camille Bismonte

Shared from Georgetown College, February 24, 2020