Critical Language Scholarship Program | Participant Handbook
A group of CLS students pose in front of mountains in Georgia.

Participant Handbook

Each year, the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship Program provides American students the opportunity to live and study in a host community abroad. Recipients of the scholarship improve their language skills, learn about local culture, make new connections, and become more independent people with a broader perspective of the world.

This guide provides information about what to expect before, during, and after the CLS Program. The information presented here is intended to be applicable to all potential applicants, semi-finalists, and finalists, regardless of language of study or host community. Finalists for the CLS Program receive a significant number of materials to help them prepare for the program once they have been selected. Those materials include a site-specific handbook that contains information about the particular host community where they have been placed.

If you have a question that is not covered in this guide or is of a personal nature, please contact the CLS Program by email at or by phone at 877-257-9922.

The Critical Language Scholarship Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government. It is supported in its implementation by American Councils for International Education.