Critical Language Scholarship Program | Support for Participants
Five CLS participants sit in a circle and chat during a group activity in Morocco.

Support for Participants

There are several ways for CLS finalists to connect with other finalists, CLS alumni, and CLS staff before departing on the CLS Program.

Getting to Know Your Cohort

Because CLS is a group-based program, participants spend the majority of their time abroad studying, learning, and practicing the target language with their CLS peers. Finalists have the opportunity to connect with their peers through each cohort’s CLS Canvas site. While many finalists will be traveling to their host country or location for the first time during the CLS Program, a cohort could also have participants who have visited the host region before and can provide information or advice to first-time travelers. Participants with greater experience studying the host language are encouraged to support beginners or participants with less experience before and during the program, such as by providing tips for key words or phrases to practice prior to departure.

CLS Alumni

One of the CLS Program’s most significant resources for participants is the deep pool of CLS alumni. Their diverse experiences on the CLS Program and the lessons they have learned are valuable tools to be shared with finalists.

In the spring, finalists receive a directory of alumni who have volunteered to speak with them about a variety of topics, both sensitive and routine. Finalists are highly encouraged to take advantage of this resource; CLS alumni look forward to sharing their experiences and answering questions about everything from packing and staying mentally and physically healthy on the program to representing diverse perspectives and navigating identity abroad. Participants are encouraged to refer to these directories and reach out to the alumni listed in them before the program as well as throughout their time abroad.

If finalists have questions about contacting alumni, they can reach out to the CLS Alumni Engagement Officer at

Social Media

CLS finalists can engage with the greater CLS community through a variety of online media.

Additional Resources

In addition to resources provided by the CLS Program, finalists are expected to seek out other materials and opportunities to learn about their host country or location and what it is like to live there. Finalists should make sure to consult the U.S. Department of State’s travel page for their host country or location. Below are some additional resources to consider as finalists prepare for their summer abroad:

CLS Staff

Finalists who need support or have any questions or concerns they would like to discuss can reach out to their Program Officer directly at any time in the spring, as well as during the summer program. Finalists may also email or call American Councils at 202-833-7522 or the CLS Program directly at 877-257-9922 (toll-free within the U.S.; international calling charges apply).