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Education

2011 State Dept. Critical Language Scholarship Participants Depart For Summer Institute

2011 State Dept. Critical Language Scholarship Participants Depart For Summer Institute

Photo: Critical Language Scholarship

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Students selected to participate in the highly-competitive U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program will arrive in Washington, DC during June to attend country-specific orientations prior to departing overseas to study in intensive language institutes. The CLS Program provides opportunities for American college students to study strategically important foreign languages abroad.

This summer, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is supporting 575 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to study in 14 countries where Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, or Urdu are spoken. The students selected for the CLS Program were chosen from more than 5,200 applicants through a merit-based selection process.

The CLS Program provides fully-funded, group-based intensive language instruction for a minimum of 20 hours per week and structured cultural enrichment experiences. Participants develop fluency in the language and cultural competency through being paired with “language peers” (host-country university students), engaging in volunteer activities in their host communities and living with host families or host-country roommates in most countries. CLS participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

Prior to their departure, participants attend country-specific orientations in Washington, DC, beginning May 31. Officials from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, CLS alumni, embassy representatives from the host countries and panelists representing government, academia, nonprofits and business will address the orientation groups, sharing information about host countries and strategies for success in the program.

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.

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.