The Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is supporting 631 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to study critical languages through the 2012 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program. Participants will attend an intensive seven-to-ten week institute in one of 14 countries this summer where Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, or Urdu are predominantly spoken. Students hailing from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, a wide range of 252 U.S. colleges and universities, and many academic disciplines were chosen from more than 5,200 applicants through a merit-based selection process.
The U.S. Department of State launched the Critical Language Scholarships for Intensive Summer Institutes in 2006 to increase opportunities for American students to study critical languages overseas. The program, which is administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers and the American Councils for International Education, is part of a wider U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical languages.
The CLS Program allows participants to develop fluency in their targeted critical language and cultural competency in their host country through group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences. CLS participants are expected to continue their language study beyond this scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their career plans.
Beginning May 29, participants attend country-specific orientations in Washington, D.C., before departing for their respective institutes. During the orientations, students will learn information about their host countries, strategies for successful language learning, and ideas for incorporating language skills into their career plans. They will also interact with officials from ECA, CLS alumni, embassy representatives from the host countries, and panelists representing government, academia, nonprofits and business.
CLS Program participants are among the more than 40,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by ECA to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
For further information, please contact Bryan Messerly at MesserlyBJ@state.gov or (202) 632-3270.