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CLS Spark

Learn more about CLS Spark.

The deadline for applications is May 26, 2022.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is happy to introduce CLS Spark, a new initiative of the U.S. Department of State providing American students the access and opportunity to start their language learning journeys even when these critical languages may not be offered on their campuses or when they may have responsibilities that limit their ability to go overseas. Participants will spend an academic year learning either Arabic, Chinese or Russian through online classes and activities facilitated by native speakers at a host institution abroad.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a summer study abroad opportunity for American college and university students to learn languages essential to America’s engagement with the world.

The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

Each summer, CLS provides rigorous academic instruction in fifteen languages that are critical to America's national security and economic prosperity. CLS participants are citizen ambassadors, sharing American values and promoting American influence abroad.

Why You Should Study Abroad with the CLS Program

Key Benefits

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Develop Key Expertise

The CLS Program provides its scholars intensive language and cultural instruction in an environment designed to maximize their language gains at every level.

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Career Ready Skills

Alumni apply their critical language skills in a variety of professional fields in public and private sectors as well as government, helping to support America’s competitiveness across the board.

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Citizen Diplomacy

CLS scholars represent the breadth and diversity of the United States. Through personal engagement they help to spread American values and develop mutual understanding with the people of other countries.

  • Just having conversations with people and being open with them about what we did culturally where I’m from; I’ve always wanted to share that with people.
    Marcus Dunn, Korean 2011
  • The CLS Program was instrumental in getting me to the proficiency level required for my career. My employer cited my language skills as one of the main traits that made me an outstanding candidate.
    John Krzyzaniak, Persian 2016
  • Diplomatic representation of the monolith that is the United States military is very similar to the citizen diplomacy aspect of the CLS Program. You cannot begin to understand culture without the language component. With the CLS Program, you gain authenticity by learning the language.
    Andrea Howard, Azerbaijani 2015
  • "The Persian language opens a door to a universe of wonders within the collective history of humankind."
    Shabbir Abbas, Persian 2020

CLS News and Stories

Alumni Profile: Sasha DeLellis
Sasha DeLellis is an alumna of the 2021 CLS Russian Program hosted virtually by KORA Russian Learning Center in Vladmir, Russia. Sasha is in her senior year at Central Michigan University finishing her Bachelor of Science in Economics. After graduating later this year, Sasha plans to pursue graduat…

May 20, 2022

Alumni Profile: Sam Ramtin
Sam Ramtin is an alumnus of the 2021 CLS Program hosted virtually by the Arab American Language Institute (AALI) in Morocco. Sam will be graduating this spring with an M.A. in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations & Public Policy from San Diego State University. Sam wil…

May 17, 2022

Alumni Profile: Alexandra Dionisi
Alexandra Dionisi is an alumna of the 2020 and 2021 CLS Indonesian Program hosted virtually by Universitas Negeri Malang in Malang, Indonesia. Alexandra received her Associates of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies and the Spanish Language from the Rowan College of South Jersey. Alexandra plans to…

May 13, 2022

Alumni Profile: Manmeet Pelia
Manmeet Pelia is an alumna of the 2021 CLS Punjabi Program hosted virtually by American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) in Chandigarh, India. Manmeet is a third-year electrical and computer engineering student at the United States Air Force Academy. After graduating, Manmeet plans to apply and p…

May 10, 2022

CLS in the Press

51 Undergraduate Students Earn Their Place at Leading Aerospace Organizations in the Brooke Owens Fellowship Class of 2022

Manmeet Pelia (Punjabi 2021) was selected as a 2022 Brooke Owens Fellow

Shared from Brooke Owens Fellowship, May 25, 2022

MSU graduate awarded prestigious scholarship, named Fulbright finalist

A Mississippi State graduate who will participate in the U.S. Department of State-sponsored Critical Language Scholarship Program this summer also is a Fulbright finalist selected to study in Germany.

Shared from Mississippi State University News, May 23, 2022

Students, alumni awarded national scholarships to pursue global studies

Five University of Miami students and two alumni are heading overseas this summer to study and learn new languages after being conferred prestigious national scholarship awards.

Shared from University of Miami News, May 23, 2022