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The Arabic Language

The Arabic language has a rich artistic, religious and intellectual history that dates back thousands of years and encompasses a myriad of modern cultures and traditions throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Today, Arabic is spoken by nearly 300 million people and is an official language in over 20 different countries as well as the United Nations, playing a key role in global communications and international affairs. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) ties the Arabic-speaking world together as the literary written language of official communication, while each region features its own distinct dialect and cultural tradition. The CLS Program focuses on MSA, while giving students the opportunity to develop their colloquial Arabic skills that provide a foundation for building strong relations.

Arabic has been growing in popularity among American students for years and has attracted intellectuals from across the academic spectrum. Whether you're studying economics, anthropology, public health, or history, there is a great demand for proficient Arabic-speakers with on-the-ground experience in the MENA region.

Program Sites

The CLS Program has suspended all summer language institutes for 2020.


Previous Institutes

Featured Alumni Profiles

Radhika Arora
Arabic 2018
Meknes, Morocco
Luana Davila
Arabic 2019
Meknes, Morocco
Rachel Sider
Arabic 2012
Rabat, Morocco

Arabic Stories

Ezra Baker

“Language learning will always be a part of my life. I am so grateful for the doors that the CLS Program has opened for me .”

Ezra Baker studied Economics and French at Ohio State University, and wanted to broaden his horizons to learn a more challenging and less commonly taught language....

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Posted June 01, 2020


Announcing the CLS Virtual Institutes for Summer 2020

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is pleased to announce CLS Virtual Institutes in six critical languages in summer 2020 for a limited number of participants. CLS Virtual Institutes will provide remote language instruction and cultural learning in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean,...

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Posted May 29, 2020


Emily Cramer
“I cannot overstate the value of the CLS Program. It changed my life and what I have been able to do as a student and as a professional. I’m so excited for the waves that the CLS Program will continue to make in my life and the way CLS will continue to change the lives of American... Read more

Posted May 25, 2020