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Five CLS Program participants in Jordan watch the sunset in the desert.

On March 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued Global Level 3 Health Advisory – Reconsider Travel. In light of this Travel Advisory, the CLS Program is suspending all CLS summer language institutes for 2020. The health and well-being of CLS Program participants is our most important consideration. The application for the summer 2021 CLS Program is expected to be available in the fall of 2020.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a summer study abroad opportunity for American college and university students to learn languages essential to America’s engagement with the world.

The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical 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.

Each summer, CLS provides rigorous academic instruction in fifteen languages that are critical to America's national security and economic prosperity. CLS participants are citizen ambassadors, sharing American values and promoting American influence abroad.


Languages Offered


Students in Jaipur, India

Key Benefits

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Develop Key Expertise

The CLS Program provides its scholars intensive language and cultural instruction in an environment designed to maximize their language gains at every level.

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Career Ready Skills

Alumni apply their critical language skills in a variety of professional fields in public and private sectors as well as government, helping to support America’s competitiveness across the board.

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Citizen Diplomacy

CLS scholars represent the breadth and diversity of the United States. Through personal engagement they help to spread American values and develop mutual understanding with the people of other countries.


Featured Alumni

Andrea Howard
Azerbaijani 2015
Baku, Azerbaijan
John Krzyzaniak
Persian 2016
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Lauren Chow
Indonesian 2018
Malang, Indonesia
Dana Fager
Japanese 2011
Kyoto, Japan

CLS News and Stories

Alumni Profile: Andrea Howard

Andrea participated in the CLS Azerbaijani program in 2015 following her graduation from the United States Naval Academy. Following this, she completed a Master of Arts in Science and Security at King’s College in London and a Master of Science in Global Governance and Diplomacy as a Marshall...

Posted by Jessica Klink on March 17, 2020


Alumni Profile: Isabelle McRae

After graduating from high school in 2012, Isabelle McRae traveled to Turkey on a whim and was captivated by the culture and language. She spent many months volunteering in villages, hiking, and exploring. Because of her experiences in the Caucasus, she knew she wanted to study in a field that...

Posted by Jessica Klink on March 10, 2020


Alumni Profile: John Krzyzaniak

When John Krzyzaniak decided to attend graduate school and make a career change in 2014, one of his key goals was to pick up a new language. Although he took Persian classes, hired private tutors, and even used Rosetta Stone during his two-year Master’s in International Relations program at the...

Posted by Jessica Klink on March 03, 2020


Announcing Selection for the 2020 CLS Program

The CLS Program is pleased to announce the results of its 2020 summer competition. Congratulations to all the finalists and alternates who participated in the application for the CLS Program this summer.

Finalists for the 2020 CLS Program were selected from a diverse pool of nearly 5,000...

Posted by Andrew McCullough on February 27, 2020


CLS in the Press

Student with Aspirations for Foreign Service Spends Year in Indonesia Practicing Foreign Policy

Unable to speak the language, Camille Bismonte (C’21) did not know that when she first travelled to Indonesia for eight weeks in the summer of 2018 that she would end up studying abroad there for the entirety of her junior year. Now a Boren Scholar, she has won a speech competition, represented the United States at the 12th Annual Bali Democracy Forum, and met the President of Indonesia.

Shared from Georgetown University News, February 24, 2020


Michael: Software Consultant Leading with Japanese

Profile of CLS Japanese alumnus Michael Mauer

Shared from Lead With Languages, February 24, 2020


Student with Aspirations for Foreign Service Spends Year in Indonesia Practicing Foreign Policy

Profile of CLS Indonesian alumna Camille Bismonte

Shared from Georgetown College, February 24, 2020