Critical Language Scholarship Program | Tyler Young

Tyler Young

Tyler Young is an alumnus of the 2018 CLS Russian program in Tbilisi, Georgia. He’s currently a student at Santa Monica College, preparing to transfer to a four-year institution to complete his bachelor’s degree.

The Road to CLS

I grew up in Washington State and moved to California to pursue higher education. I was interested in politics and foreign affairs when I was very young which inspired me to study Russian. There is so much history connected to the language, and Russia is still a major player internationally.

Learning a critical language opens up so many rewarding career pathways, as language skills can be paired with many careers and industries. People must speak to each other in both global business and international relations but not many people have the advanced language skills to be an asset.

Creating Access

The Russian study abroad community is a small one and being part of it through CLS has been deeply rewarding. I have realized that not many students like myself (first-generation college student, low-income, and paying my own way through school) have access to this world, and I want to change that. I am one of only three students to ever be awarded a Critical Language Scholarship from Santa Monica College, and I want to help other students have the same opportunity. Since returning to my campus, I have already co-hosted a workshop with a Russian language faculty member to share the CLS Program with other students. I am excited to continue reaching out to the community as a CLS Alumni Ambassador.

Future Goals

I am hoping to teach English abroad for a few years in a Russian-speaking country and then return to the United States to either teach Russian or join a governmental agency and use my language and cultural skills to contribute to my country.

A Memorable CLS Moment

I once gave a chicken nugget to a stray dog, and it followed the entire CLS student group during our tour visiting a church; it was a walking tour and the dog followed us for over an hour. The resident directors were both amused and annoyed—paired feelings which I often invoked in them with my mischievous nature!

CLS Alumni Ambassadors are recent CLS participants who take leadership roles as active and positive representatives of the CLS Program by engaging with CLS alumni and representing the program to various audiences. If you would like to get in touch with a CLS Alumni Ambassador, please contact

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Tyler Young
Tyler Young

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Posted Date

May 01, 2019