Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. CLS scholars gain critical language and cultural
skills that enable them to contribute to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. These students join
approximately 550 competitively -selected American students at U.S. colleges and universities who received a
CLS award in 2018. CLS provides scholarships to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to spend eight to ten weeks overseas studying one of 14 critical languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, or Urdu. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. CLS scholars are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future careers.”Critical” languages are those that are less commonly taught in U.S. schools, but are essential for America’s
engagement with the world. CLS plays an important role in preparing U.S. students for the 21st century’s
globalized workforce, increasing American competitiveness, and contributing to national security. CLS scholars
serve as citizen ambassadors, representing the diversity of the United States abroad and building lasting
relationships with people in their host countries. CLS participants represent a broad diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. CLS actively recruits in states and regions of the United States that have been historically under-represented in international education.
Recipients of the 2018 CLS awards include students from over 230 institutions of higher education across the United States,including public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, minority-serving institutions, and community
colleges. Since 2006, CLS has awarded scholarships to more than 5,700 American students to learn critical languages around the world. CLS scholars are among the more than 50,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. These exchange programs build respect and positive relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The CLS program is administered by American Councils for International Education.