Critical Language Scholarship
The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need 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. Please visit the CLS Institutes page for more information.
Countries may include: Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Russia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, or others where the target languages are spoken.
Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) provide group-based summer intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for eight to ten weeks. CLS institute dates will be posted once finalized, but the institutes generally begin within the first three weeks in June, and end within the first three weeks in August. Levels available for each language are as follows:
- Arabic, Persian: Advanced beginning, intermediate or advanced level;
- Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Turkish, Urdu: Beginning, intermediate or advanced level;
- Chinese, Japanese, Russian: Intermediate or advanced level.
The intensive summer language institutes will include four to five hours of language instruction each day, five days a week. CLS participants will cover approximately one year’s worth of language study during the summer institutes. Mandatory or voluntary activities outside of formal classes may also be provided, including tutoring, peer conversation partners, and homework assignments. In addition, participants will participate in a variety of group-based cultural enrichment activities and excursions. Participants are required to attend all classes and activities provided by the institute. Students in intermediate and advanced programs should expect that a language-only pledge may be required for the entirety of the CLS Program.
Domestic air travel will be arranged for participants from their home city in the US to Washington, D.C. for a pre-departure orientation. Institute groups will travel together from Washington, DC to the institute site overseas on pre-arranged group flights. Students are required to participate in the full program, including the pre-departure orientation.
Site placement for programs where more than one site is offered will be made based on a variety of factors as determined by the CLS Program institutes and the Department of State. Additional oral and written language testing may be required before site placement is finalized. The CLS Program will not be able to accommodate site change requests before or during the program.
Accommodations and Meals
CLS Program institutes house students in a variety of double occupancy settings, including home-stays, dorms, hotels, and furnished apartments. Housing is determined by the CLS Program based on what is culturally appropriate and possible for a short-term summer program. All CLS Program recipients are required to live in program-designated accommodations. Meals are either prepared and provided for participants, or covered by a modest program stipend intended to cover required living expenses.
The CLS Program provides a unique opportunity for students to learn and improve their language skills by attending intensive language classes, participating in a program of cultural enrichment, and living in a target-language immersion environment. Since beginning in 2006, the CLS Program has grown from offering 163 scholarships in six languages in 2006, to offering 575 scholarships in thirteen languages in 2010.
Detailed information about participating institutes is available from the CLS Program's official website.
CLS Recipients for Summer 2012:
Simon Peters – China
Simon is in his second year at PSU pursuing a degree in Applied Linguistics and is most interested in language policy and endangered language maintenance and revitalization within the Chinese context. After completing the CLS program in Shanghai this summer, he is attending Portland State’s sister school in Kaohsiung, Taiwan where he’ll further develop Chinese language skills. In the spring, he plans to participate in an SIT Study Abroad program in western China where he’ll have the opportunity to engage in undergraduate research on endangered languages among some of China’s minority communities. Once he returns to Portland State the following year he’ll use this research as a basis for his Senior Thesis in the Honors Program.
Shelby Macy – Russia
Shelby is currently studying fourth year Russian in PSU’s Russian Flagship Program, and is working her way towards a double major in Russian and Applied Linguistics. As a Flagship student, she will spend her final year of study in St. Petersburg, where she will gain experience as an intern and complete her senior capstone project. She plans to use her Russian language skills, as well as the cultural insight which she’ll gain studying abroad, in order to serve her country as a language analyst working for the federal government.
Karen Lickteig – Jordan
Karen is currently studying International Studies with a focus on the Middle East, with minors in Arabic language and Business Administration. She is particularly interested in issues surrounding Middle Eastern urban development, sustainability, citizen journalism and cross-cultural communication. She also currently serves as the Office Coordinator for PSU’s Middle East Studies Center. Karen grew up in Wichita, Kansas, and before transferring to PSU last fall, she attended Lewis & Clark College and studied as a William Jefferson Clinton scholar at the American University in Dubai. Karen has traveled to the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, and recently took a trip to Qatar on a PSU short-term faculty-led program. She studied Advanced Arabic in Amman, Jordan this past summer and is excited about her next adventure in pursuing fluency in Arabic.
Mitchell Souter – Russia
Mitchell is a senior here at Portland State University. He began his college career after spending 5 years in the Army. He is studying Political Science and Russian. He hopes to work for the State Department after graduation where he plans to apply language skills from the CLS scholarship in Russia. When he’s not studying he keeps busy hiking, playing with his dog, or exercising.