Critical Language Scholarship Program | Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia

Program Dates:

June 21 - August 17, 2023

Hosting Institution:

American Councils for International Education

Program Overview

The CLS Program in Tbilisi is hosted by American Councils for International Education in Georgia. Formal classroom instruction is hosted at Ilia State University and consists of approximately three hours per day of language classes, five days per week. Classes focus on the four skills of language development – listening, speaking, reading and writing and include authentic material from the mass media and pop culture. During the eight week program students can expect to cover the equivalent of one academic year of university-level Russian study.

The faculty who work with CLS students in Georgia are passionate about both Georgian and Russian culture, and are knowledge about the complex histories and contemporary issues between the two countries. Faculty are enthusiastic about working with learners at all levels from those beginning to master the complex case system to students perfecting their command of the language for use in a specific professional sphere. In addition to Russian language courses, students also receive an introduction to the Georgian language which helps them to navigate the city and communicate respectfully with members of their host community.

Cultural excursions, lectures, and other enrichment activities are designed to support and enhance language learning and exposure to the host culture. During past programs students have learned about traditional arts, crafts, and food, held discussions with politicians in Parliament, played chess against a celebrity grandmaster, and explored an archaeological dig site.

CLS students in Tbilisi experience daily life in Georgia’s capital city through the eyes of their host family members who range in age, profession, and life experiences. Host families are prepared to discuss topics related to students’ interests and help them navigate daily life in Tbilisi. Many students also enjoy the intimate glimpse into Georgian cuisine they can gain while living with a host family, attending supras and special events with extended family members. Some even take the opportunity to learn how to make some of Georgia’s most famous dishes, including khachapuri and khinkali, themselves.

In Tbilisi, students meet regularly with language partners who are drawn from the Russian-speaking population. In the past students and language partners have spent time exploring the city’s public parks and recently remodeled districts, where they can see the mix of old and new architecture. Additional opportunities include visiting cafes and restaurants, shopping, going to concerts, or even visiting a traditional sulfur bath. Students have also occasionally taken the opportunity to travel with their language partners to nearby cities such as Borjomi, Sighnaghi and Telavi or gone on hiking trips in the neighboring countryside. Language partners and host family members can be a key resource for participants to understand Georgia’s vibrant lifestyle and complex history, as well as contemporary regional and global events.