The Critical Language Scholarship Program

Deadline
The application period is open for one or more cycles a year

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Summer & Winter Schools

Location (s):

  • United States of America
  • Worldwide

Overview

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program offers fully-funded summer language institutes for U.S. university students and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. 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.

Details

Program Overview

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Students spend eight to ten weeks abroad studying one of 15 critical languages. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.

CLS, a program of the U.S. Department of State, is part of a wider government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are critical to national security and economic prosperity. CLS plays an important role in preparing students for the 21st century's globalized workforce and increasing national competitiveness.

Most languages offered by the CLS Program do not require applicants to have any experience studying critical languages. The CLS Program seeks participants with diverse interests, and from a wide range of fields of study and career paths, with the purpose of representing the full diversity of the United States. Participants are selected based on their commitment to language learning and plans to apply their language skills to their future academic or professional pursuits. Please note that CLS is an intensive group-based language program. 

The Critical Language Scholarship Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by American Councils for International Education.

Program Structure

CLS Program institutes cover approximately one academic year of university-level language coursework during an eight- to ten-week program and are designed to meet the needs of students from a variety of language levels and backgrounds. Some CLS institutes require one to two years of prior language study (or the equivalent), while others accept students with no prior background in the language.

Formal classroom language instruction is provided for a minimum of 20 hours per week. Extracurricular activities are designed to supplement the formal curriculum, including regular one-on-one meetings with native speaker language partners for conversational practice, as well as cultural activities and excursions designed to expand students’ understanding of the history, politics, culture and daily life of their host country.

 

Opportunity is About:


Eligibility

Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

Eligibility

To be eligible for the CLS Program you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen at the time of your application.
    • Non-citizens including Permanent Residents are not eligible, even if they anticipate naturalization by the beginning of the program.
  • Be enrolled in an accredited U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate (associate's, bachelor's) or graduate (master's, doctoral, professional degree) level at the time of your application.
    • Your program must result in a degree. Applicants who are taking stand-alone or continuing education classes are not eligible.
    • Your institution must be an accredited U.S. institution. Students earning degrees at foreign institutions that are not based in the U.S. or its territories are not eligible, even if those institutions are accredited by a recognized U.S. accrediting agency.
    • You must be enrolled at this institution in the fall term of 2018. Limited exceptions apply; please read the following information carefully:
      • If you are not taking classes at your home institution in the fall term, please confirm that you are, in fact, enrolled. Institutions have different requirements to maintain enrollment status and you will be required to provide a signed letter from your registrar stating that you were enrolled during the fall term.
      • If you are taking a leave of absence to participate in an organized term- or year-long study abroad program, or to participate in a substantive internship program, you may request an exception to the enrollments requirement. Exceptions may only be granted in these two cases, and decisions will be made on a case by case basis.
      • In either case, you must submit a signed letter from your home college or university in the U.S. explaining your situation and your intention to re-enroll following the completion of your study abroad or internship program. You must also submit documentation from the program provider explaining the opportunity and confirming your participation. This documentation may be submitted to American Councils by email at cls@americancouncils.org.
    • You must successfully complete academic requirements for the fall term in order to remain eligible for the CLS Program. Students who withdraw or fail to maintain a passing grade average are not eligible to participate in the program.
  • Be at least 18 years old by May 15, 2019.
  • If in an undergraduate program (bachelor's or associate's), complete at least one full-time equivalent year of study (two semesters or three quarters) by the beginning of the CLS Program in summer 2019.
  • You may only apply once, for one language program, each summer. Applicants who submit multiple applications will be considered ineligible.
  • Participation is limited to a total of two CLS awards for any individual. Applicants who have been selected for and participated in the CLS Program one time may apply for a second award. Applicants who have successfully completed the CLS Program two or more times are not eligible to apply again.

The following persons are ineligible for the CLS Program:

  • Employees of the U.S. Department of State who work in offices under the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs, in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), for a period ending one year following the termination of such employment;
  • Employees of private and public agencies under contract or grant with the U.S. Department of State who perform services related to the Critical Language Scholarship Program, for a period ending one year following the termination of their services; or
  • Immediate family members (i.e., spouses and dependent children) of the individuals described in the above paragraphs, for a period ending one year following the termination of such employment or service. This provision does not disqualify self-supporting members of families who live apart from their parents.

These provisions do not extend to part-time or temporary employees, consultants, or interns of the U.S. Department of State (including at U.S. Embassies and Consulates), or to contract employees of the U.S. Department of State, unless such persons perform services related to the Critical Language Scholarship Program.

Participation Requirements

The health and well-being of participants and staff are top priorities of the CLS Program. The CLS Program is a rigorous immersion program and may be physically and emotionally challenging. Each student must be committed to working hard and participating fully in the group program, beginning with the mandatory pre-departure orientation through the completion of the oversea program.

Each participant must:

  • Be able to stay alert and to focus attention for up to several hours at a time during classes, while participating in cultural activities, and when receiving staff instructions.
  • Attend the pre-departure orientation and all daily classes and activities, as dictated by the program schedule and for the duration of the program (program dates will be announced prior to the deadline for accepting the award, if offered).
  • If taking prescription medications, be able to maintain proper dosage without assistance from instructors or others (except in emergency situations).
  • Perform necessary self-care, including maintaining adequate nutrition and hydration, dressing appropriately for environmental conditions, maintaining personal hygiene, and managing known medical conditions.
  • Comprehend and follow detailed instructions on travel, risk management, personal care, hazard avoidance, and other topics.
  • With reasonable accommodations, be able to navigate transportation independently between program-provided housing and the institute site, a maximum of approximately one hour each way.
  • Work effectively as a member of a team despite potentially stressful and difficult conditions. This may require problem solving on an interpersonal or group level as well as a willingness to accept differences.
  • Contribute to a safe learning environment. No inappropriate verbal or physical behavior toward others, either in person or online, is tolerated for any reason.
  • Effectively communicate ideas and concerns on an individual and group level.

Note that some program dates may overlap with the spring or fall academic term at your institution, and it may be necessary to work with your institution to accommodate the program dates.


Dates:

Deadline: The application period is open for one or more cycles a year


Cost/funding for participants:

Program Benefits 

The CLS Program covers most of the costs of participating in its overseas institutes, including:

  • International and domestic travel between the student's U.S. home city, Washington, D.C., and the CLS Program site
  • Visa application fees
  • Costs associated with the mandatory pre-departure orientation in Washington, D.C.
  • Language instruction, room, board, program-sponsored travel within the host country
  • All entrance fees for program activities
  • Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) language assessments
  • U.S. academic credit issued through Bryn Mawr College.

The following expenses will not be covered by the CLS Program:

  • U.S. passport fees; and
  • The cost of medical exams and any follow-up visits necessary to pass the medical review process, as determined by the CLS Program.
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