Critical Language Scholarships

11 10 2010

This post is specifically for MMU students but also applies to any American higher ed students out there who happen to read my blog.

If you’re interested in studying abroad next summer, applying for a Fulbright grant after college or in graduate school, or have career plans that might put you in contact with international communities (this could be in USA or abroad), you might want to consider the Critical Language Scholarship Program. The scholarships fully fund study of a critical language for 7-10 weeks in the country itself (in most, but not all cases). The languages the U.S. State Department considers critical are: Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, Persian (spoken in Iran), Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali (spoken in Bangladesh), Hindi, Punjabi, (Hindi & Punjabi both spoken in India), Indonesian, Korean, Turkish and Urdu (spoken in Pakistan).

The program is open to students in any major, and students in any major would benefit. In this global society, knowledge of more than one language will keep you competitive in your career as well as make you a more patient and understanding person. Plus, after reading about all my adventures and the adventures of fellow Fulbright students on the Blogroll links at right, don’t YOU want to travel to another country, too? I’ve met several people who’ve done this critical language training and it really opened doors for them. Seriously.

Reasons most students give me for not studying abroad:

  1. I don’t have the money.
    Guess what? This scholarship fully funds your language studies, and provides housing and a stipend to cover food and living expenses.
  2. I’m a little worried (or my family is worried) about traveling somewhere by myself.
    Before your departure to the host country, you attend a pre-departure orientation in Washington D.C. (the scholarship covers your travel expenses for this trip, too) where you become acquainted with other students traveling to the same country and other world regions. I had to attend a similar pre-departure orientation in D.C. for my Fulbright and it was totally awesome and relieved about 80% of my anxiety. Plus, if you want, you can arrange travel plans with your new acquaintances so you’re not actually traveling to the host country all alone.
  3. I need to work all summer to cover my college/living expenses.
    Just as you’re sacrificing part of your life now by attending college to make bigger bucks later and have a more comfortable life, you could sacrifice part of your summer for a bigger payoff later. Remember that we’re living in a global society so just about any career puts you in touch with other cultures. And with the economic downturn, the ability to live and work in another country gives you additional job-hunting options. Check out these two articles from ABC News for more info:
    Have Resume, Will Travel
    How to Find Work Outside the U.S.



3 responses

23 07 2012
Pam Johnson

Sounds amazing–Audrey (my youngest) wants to work in a language capacity for the state department–maybe she can take advantage of something like this if it is still around in a couple of years (she’s entering UW in the fall of 2013, if everything works out OK)

11 10 2010

Kathryn – thanks for the idea. We posted your blog on the MMU FB page: with info about a CLS program on campus in about a week.

11 10 2010
Catharine Cashner

Wonderful post, Kathryn! If MMU students are interested in learning more about the CLS scholarship, we will have a great opportunity next week. A senior program office from CLS will be on campus to talk more about the scholarships and answer any questions students might have. Students can come to the session on Thursday, October 21, at 3:30 pm in Flaherty or come to the Office of International Programs in Lower Lundy to find out more information.

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