Alumni Support Network

As the Critical Language Scholarship Program continues to grow, we want to ensure new participants have access to a variety of support for the unique and varied challenges they may face during their time abroad. One of our most significant resources for assisting new students is our deep pool of alumni who have experience on the CLS Program in different countries and sites, and a variety of overseas experience to share with new students. To facilitate the exchange of experience and promote mentoring relationships across program years, CLS introduced the CLS Alumni Support Network in 2015.

Alumni Resource Directories

Each spring, the CLS Program invites all alumni to share their information in a set of Alumni Resource Directories, arranged by language. These directories are provided to participants preparing to depart for summer on the program and include alumni contact information, current employment and/or studies, location, and topics of discussion. The topics range from general program preparation and what to pack to navigating individual identity in another culture and life after CLS. Participants are encouraged to use the directory for their language to reach out to alumni for additional support before departing and while on the program.

Alumni are asked to opt in to the directories each spring, and directories are only distributed to the current year’s participants and other alumni of the same language who have also opted into the directories. If you’re an alumnx interested participating in the Alumni Resource Directory for your CLS language, watch for an email from clsalumni@americancouncils.org in the spring inviting you to participate.

One-to-One Mentoring

In addition to the Alumni Resource Directories, we also offer participants the option to be paired with an alumni mentor. Each spring, finalists are invited to request an alumni mentor by completing a survey. While we can’t promise exactly who will volunteer to be mentors in a given year in each language, we do our best to make pairings according to areas of interest indicated in participants’ and mentors’ survey responses.