Critical Language Scholarship Program | Participation Requirements

Participation Requirements

The health and well-being of participants and staff are top priorities of CLS. The CLS Program is a rigorous immersion program and may be physically and emotionally challenging. Each student must be committed to working hard and participating fully in the group program, beginning with the mandatory pre-program orientation through the completion of the program.

CLS Program Participation Requirements

With reasonable accommodations, participants in the CLS Program must:

  • Be able to stay alert and to focus attention for up to several hours at a time during classes, while participating in cultural activities, and when receiving staff instructions;
  • Attend the pre-program orientation and all daily classes and activities, as dictated by the program schedule and for the duration of the program (program dates will be announced prior to the deadline for accepting the award, if offered);
  • If taking prescription medications, be able to maintain proper dosage without assistance from instructors or others (except in emergency situations);
  • Perform necessary self-care, including maintaining adequate nutrition and hydration, dressing appropriately for environmental conditions, maintaining personal hygiene, and managing known medical conditions;
  • Comprehend and follow detailed instructions on travel, risk management, personal care, hazard avoidance, and other topics;
  • With reasonable accommodations, be able to navigate transportation independently between program-provided housing and the institute site, a maximum of approximately one hour each way;
  • Work effectively as a member of a team despite potentially stressful and difficult conditions. This may require problem solving on an interpersonal or group level as well as a willingness to accept differences;
  • Contribute to a safe learning environment. No inappropriate verbal or physical behavior toward others, either in person or online, is tolerated for any reason; and
  • Effectively communicate ideas and concerns on an individual and group level.

Note that some program dates may overlap with the spring or fall academic term at participants' institutions. Therefore, it may be necessary for participants to work with their institution to accommodate the program dates.

Medical Review

If selected for the CLS Program award, you will be required to submit a medical information form and physician's statement to the CLS Program for review by an independent medical professional. Results of the medical review will determine if you meet medical requirements necessary for program placement and participation in the CLS Program. You must also inform the program of any changes in your health status between submission of these forms and the start of the program in order to participate.

Passports, Visas, and Entry Requirements

Participants in the CLS Program must enter the host country on a U.S. passport. In most cases it is not possible for individuals with dual citizenship to participate in the country of their other nationality due to host country laws or policies requiring citizens to enter the country using the passport issued by that country alone. In some cases, this may also apply to participants whose parents hold citizenship in the host country. Applicants are responsible for determining whether they have, or are eligible to have, dual citizenship with the host country, and to address any potential consequences before accepting a CLS award.

Where necessary, participants in the CLS Program must also receive an appropriate visa from the host country (deadlines vary by country) and must meet all local requirements to enter the country legally for the purposes of participating on the CLS Program.

  • The CLS Program, American Councils for International Education and the U.S. Department of State will assist finalists with their visa applications, but cannot influence a foreign government's decision of whether or not to issue a visa. The decision to issue a visa rests solely with the government and consular mission of the country to which an individual is traveling.
  • Finalists and, in some cases, alternates may be required to work closely with program staff on preparing their paperwork well in advance of regular deadlines in order to receive a visa.
  • Failure to meet deadlines or respond in a timely manner to CLS Program staff requests may result in not being issued a visa and therefore not being able to participate in the program.
  • Finalists may be required to submit their passports for visa processing in the spring, prior to the program start date. This may require finalists to cancel or reschedule planned international travel in order to participate in the CLS Program.
  • Finalists must also meet all other local requirements for entry on the visa status required for participation in the program; requirements may include but are not limited to vaccination requirements or negative tests for infectious disease.

Passport Assistance

The CLS Program is proud to announce the availability of limited funds to support U.S. passport procurement for students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. The CLS Program will issue a reimbursement of $165 for U.S. passport application fees (excluding fees to expedite processing and shipping costs) for CLS finalists applying for a first-time passport or a passport renewal in order to participate in the CLS Program. Please note that fees to expedite the application process and costs related to shipping or traveling to procure a passport are not reimbursable.

For more information on program eligibility and how to apply, please review the CLS Passport Assistance guidelines.

Military Affiliation

The CLS Program welcomes applicants with affiliation to the U.S. armed services. All applicants with military affiliation, including all U.S. Department of Defense military and civilian personnel, service academy cadets, service members of active and reserve components, as well as inactive service members, including members of the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR), may be subject to passport or visa requirements, special waiver requirements, prohibition of travel to the host country, and/or other restrictions. Prior to completing the CLS application, all applicants with affiliation to the U.S. armed forces should carefully review the CLS Program's instructions on this topic and seek advice from the appropriate commanding officer.

Additional Requirements

If you are selected for a CLS Program award, as a requirement of your participation, you must agree to the terms and conditions of the award. You may review a sample of the terms and conditions from a previous year. The award terms and conditions are revised on an annual basis and may change before the start of the program.

CLS Spark Participation Requirements

With reasonable accommodations, participants in CLS Spark must:

  • Have reliable Internet access to some type of electronic device to participate in live classes weekly including the ability to be on camera and use a microphone;
  • Complete pre-program orientation virtual sessions (both recorded and live);
  • Complete pre-program assessments and surveys, where applicable;
  • Maintain an 80% rate of attendance and completion of homework assignments;
  • Complete mid- and post-program surveys; and
  • Complete post-program proficiency testing.

Additional Requirements

If you are selected for a CLS Spark award, as a requirement of your participation, you must agree to the terms and conditions of the award. You may review a sample of the terms and conditions from a previous year. The award terms and conditions are revised on an annual basis and may change before the start of the program