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▼  Alumni Profile: Marcus Dunn  ▼

The CLS Application for the 2021 Summer Programs is closed.

You may still log in to view your application online. Recommendation letters are due November 20, 2020 at 5:00pm Eastern

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

David Fields
Korean 2010
Jeonju, South Korea
Andrea Howard
Azerbaijani 2015
Baku, Azerbaijan
John Krzyzaniak
Persian 2016
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Lauren Chow
Indonesian 2018
Malang, Indonesia

CLS News and Stories

Alumni Profile: Marcus Dunn

Marcus Dunn is an alumnus of the 2011 CLS Korean program in Jeonju, South Korea. His summer on the CLS Program followed his final undergraduate year at the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture, where he studied Fine and Studio Arts. He also holds a master’s degree in painting...

Posted by Liz Sinclair on November 24, 2020


Edwin Juarez Reflects on Identity and the CLS Program

Edwin Juarez is an alumnus of the 2020 CLS Virtual Korean program and a current student at Claremont McKenna College, where he is majoring in Foreign Languages. Growing up in a predominantly Mexican-American community in Houston, he noticed how relieved his parents were when someone offered...

Posted by Liz Sinclair on September 30, 2020


Alumni Profile: Lauren Sooy
“Although beginning my civil service career amidst a pandemic was a bit unusual, I’m grateful to be contributing my skills and knowledge to the U.S. government’s coronavirus response efforts.”

Lauren, an alumna of the 2017 CLS Indonesian program, landed a position in early 2020 as a...

Posted by Jessica Klink on September 21, 2020


The 2021 Summer Application is Now Available!

We are pleased to announce that the application for the 2021 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is now open! We welcome your students to apply now to learn a critical foreign language next summer on a fully-funded study abroad program.

The application is now live and available...

Posted by Andrew McCullough on August 27, 2020


CLS in the Press

2020 Graduate Receives Chinese Language Critical Language Scholarship

Lindsey Hinczynski received a Chinese language CLS Program award. The CLS Program is the U.S. Department of State’s scholarship program in which the government invests money into teaching Americans languages that are critical to developing modern international relations and business.

Shared from Loyola University Maryland, November 25, 2020


Senior English Major Mac Williams Receives Critical Language Scholarship

Western Kentucky University student Mac Williams received a CLS award to study Japanese in 2020.

Shared from WKU News, November 20, 2020


SDSU’s Seten to interview for Rhodes Scholarship

Hattie Seten (Arabic 2018) has been selected as a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

Shared from Brookings Register, November 20, 2020