Critical Language Scholarship Program | Alumni Achievement
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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.


  • "The Persian language opens a door to a universe of wonders within the collective history of humankind."
    Shabbir Abbas, Persian 2020
  • 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
  • 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
  • "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

CLS Student Spotlight: Colby Santana on Russian Language, Rugby and International Relations
Two years ago, if you had told Colby Santana that he would be studying Russian in Kyrgyzstan and be a commentator for the National Rugby Team, he wouldn't have believed you. A last-minute sign up for a Russian literature course led Colby down a path of falling in love with Russian language, declari…

September 16, 2022


Announcing the 2022 Alumni Photo Contest
We are pleased to invite alumni of the 2022 CLS Program to submit photos to the 2022 photo contest! We welcome submissions from those who participated virtually as well as those who were abroad at their program sites this summer. Submissions will be accepted through Monday, September 26, 2022 and …

September 08, 2022


Announcing the 2022 CLS Refresh Alumni Program
The CLS Program is pleased to announce the second year of CLS Refresh, a language learning opportunity for CLS Program alumni. To support alumni in their continued commitment to critical languages, individualized virtual language instruction will be offered beginning in October 2022, at no cost to …

September 01, 2022


Advisor Chat: David Wick
Meet CLS advisor David Wick! David has advised for the CLS Program since its inception over 15 years ago, making him a hall of fame CLS advisor. David began working in international education over 30 years ago and has since led study abroad initiatives at universities throughout the U.S—Santa Cla…

September 01, 2022


CLS in the Press

‘Cultural excursions’ in South Korea | Penn State student shares experiences studying abroad, regaining his heritage

Juntae Rocker (Korean 2022) talks about his experience on the CLS Program in Busan.

Shared from Daily Collegian, September 22, 2022


U.S. Department of State Offers Opportunities for American and International Students and Scholars at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

U.S. Department of State programs including the CLS Program provide opportunities for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Shared from U.S. Department of State, September 20, 2022


Elizabethtown College Student Laura Cardona Named Critical Language Studies Scholar

Elizabethtown College International Business and Political Science major Laura Cardona ’23 has been granted a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Mandarin through the U. S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, CLS Program.

Shared from E-Town News, August 29, 2022