Program Alumni

Alumni are central to the mission of the CLS Program. CLS alumni go on to do great things with their language skills, both academically and professionally. In addition to providing information about the program to colleagues, classmates, and people in their communities, CLS Program alumni play a key role in preparing prospective applicants and finalists and serving as citizen ambassadors of their study abroad experiences.

Search Past Alumni

Find alumni on your campus and in your community! Search for CLS alumni by name, home institution, language, year, or field of study.

Spreading the Word

If you are interested in conducting an information session on your campus after completing the CLS Program, read Spreading the Word (PDF), our guide to alumni-led information sessions, and feel free to contact us at 202-833-7522 or via email if you have any questions! You may also download the CLS informational one-pager (PDF).

Stay in Touch

We want to hear from you! Let us know if you change your contact information, if you get a great new job or if you have any other exciting news to share. We know that our alumni are doing amazing things, and we want to hear from you about the impact of study abroad on your career!

Send updates to us by filling out this form, sending us an email, or calling us at (202) 833-7522.

CLS Alumni Support Network

As the Critical Language Scholarship Program continues to grow, we want to ensure new participants have access to a variety of support for the unique and varied challenges they may face during their time abroad. One of our most significant resources for assisting new students is our deep pool of alumni who have experience on the CLS Program in different countries and sites, and a variety of overseas experience to share with new students. To facilitate the exchange of experience and promote mentoring relationships across program years, CLS introduced the CLS Alumni Support Network in 2015.

The CLS Alumni Support Network consists of two pieces: a CLS Alumni Resource Guide and a one­-to-one mentoring program. The CLS Alumni Resource Guide is a directory of alumni who have volunteered to speak with current students about a range of different topics and issues, both routine and sensitive. Topics include program preparation, local environment, local culture, religion, racial attitudes, gender norms, the LGBTQ experience abroad, strategies for engaging with the host culture, host families, language partners, time management, and language learning. For those who feel that they may benefit from additional, more direct support, CLS participants can elect to be paired with an alumnus or alumna who has volunteered to serve as an official mentor throughout the summer.

If you are interested in learning more about the CLS Alumni Support Network or are an alum who would like to participate in the program, please contact us.

Alumni Development Fund

The Alumni Development Fund provides a limited number of small grants to CLS alumni to support projects, events, and activities that promote the study of critical languages and their corresponding world regions. Individual applicants may apply for grants of up to $500, pending U.S. Department of State funding; groups may be eligible for larger amounts based on the size and type of activity. The Alumni Development Fund is open to CLS alumni from any program year, however preference is given to alumni who have never received an Alumni Development Fund grant. Applicants are expected to submit proposals that will have a wider impact on others (e.g. students, other CLS alumni, or their community).

Read more on the Alumni Development Fund, and apply for a 2016 award.

CLS Alumni Photo Contest

The CLS Program is celebrating the end of another successful summer with an alumni photo contest calling for photographs from 2016 alumni! Photographs from all program languages and sites are welcome.

Photos are accepted in the following categories:

  • Participant Life Abroad: Experiencing the everyday life of your host culture through food, transportation, festivities, customs, and people.
  • CLS Community: Interactions with CLS peers, language partners, teachers, and host families.
  • Language Learning in Action: Learning in the classroom, studying with language partners, and improving your skills with locals.
  • Outdoor Exploration: Exploring sights, architecture, and landscapes in your CLS city and country.

See the full announcement for more information.

Alumni Ambassadors

Each year, the CLS Program selects a small group of outstanding recent alumni to serve as CLS Alumni Ambassadors. CLS Alumni Ambassadors represent the diversity of the CLS Program in language, field of study, gender, ethnicity/race, educational institution, state of origin, and future plans. Alumni Ambassadors take leadership roles as representatives of the CLS Program. They represent the program to various audiences including prospective CLS participants, fellow alumni, and the general public. The role of Alumni Ambassador is a one-year, unpaid, voluntary position.

Outstanding Alumni Ambassadors from previous years are also invited to continue serving the CLS Program as Senior Alumni Ambassadors.

Typical activities of an Alumni Ambassador may include:

  • General CLS and/or county-specific presentations
  • Participating in online forums (e.g. International Exchange Alumni, Facebook)
  • Providing prospective CLS students with information about their experience
  • Responding to questions from future CLS participants as needed
  • Speaking on an alumni panel at a CLS pre-departure orientation in Washington, D.C.

Click here to view CLS Alumni Ambassador profiles.

The 2017 Alumni Ambassador program application is now open. Read more about the program here.