Critical Language Scholarship Program | Alumni Achievement
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▼  Latest News: Advisor Chat: Yee Han Chu  ▼

The application for the 2022 CLS Spark initiative has closed. We will be in touch with all applicants following the review and selection process--thank you for your interest!

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.


  • 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 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
  • "The Persian language opens a door to a universe of wonders within the collective history of humankind."
    Shabbir Abbas, Persian 2020
  • "I had always been interested in learning about Brazilian culture and Portuguese language and CLS made that a reality for me."
    Max Courval, Portuguese 2020

CLS News and Stories

Advisor Chat: Yee Han Chu
Meet CLS Advisor Yee Han Chu! Yee Han advises for the CLS Program in her role as Academic Support and Fellowship Opportunities Coordinator at University of North Dakota (UND). Yee Han uses an individual-centered approach when advising students, a skill she has honed from years as a clinical social …

May 26, 2022


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


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