Critical Language Scholarship Program (CLS)


The Critical Language Scholarship Program (CLS) is a fully-funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, CLS provides opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.

Languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu.

Programs range from seven to 10 weeks, beginning in early to mid-June with a pre-departure orientation in the U.S. Students must attend the full program and participate in all program activities. Students in all disciplines including business, engineering, law, medicine, sciences and humanities are encouraged to apply.


  • Campus Deadline: A campus nomination is not required, but prospective applicants are encouraged to consult with Megan Stewart in advance of the deadline.
  • External Deadline: November 

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or national at the time of application.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at an accredited U.S. degree-granting institution at the time of application. 
  • Meet the language requirements of the program to which they apply.
  • Successfully complete academic requirements for the fall term to remain eligible.

How to Apply

Campus Contact

Past Award Recipients and Honorees







Field(s) of Study








2023 Zanaya Hussain Recipient Social Sciences Interdisciplinary; Urban and Public Policy Studies
  Bangla Kolkata, India
2023 Ryan Rohrbach Recipient Political Science; Social Sciences Interdisciplinary   Korean  
2022 Julia Jeon Recipient Public Health   Korean  
2022 Abigail Bykowski Alternate Linguistics   Korean  
2022 Sophie May Alternate French and Political Science Buffalo, NY Russian  
2021 Ashley Cercone Recipient Anthropology Amherst, NY Turkish Remote due to COVID-19
2021 Sophie May Alternate French and Political Science Buffalo, NY Russian  
2021 Cameron Houser Finalist Social Work      
2020 Brian Kwong Recipient Architecture Oakland Gardens, NY Punjabi Remote due to COVID-19
2019 Jonathan Bessette Recipient Mechanical Engineering Johnson City, NY Korean  
2019 Connor MacMahon Recipient Philosophy North Tonawanda, NY Chinese Tainan, Taiwan
2019 Ashwaq Asfour Alternate Global Gender Studies and Social Science Interdisciplinary  Buffalo, NY Arabic  
2019 Kayleigh Hamernik Alternate Social Science Interdisciplinary Syracuse, NY Hindi  
2018 Jenny Simon Recipient English and Linguistics Brooklyn, NY Chinese Changchun, China
2018 Ethan Wolfson-Seely Recipient English   Urdu Lucknow, India
2017 Kayleigh Hamernik Recipient Social Science Interdisciplinary Syracuse, NY Hindi  
2017 Hanna Santanam Recipient English and Anthropology Manlius, NY Hindi Jaipur, India
2016 Anna Blatto Recipient Social Science Interdisciplinary and Sociology Buffalo,NY Chinese Tainan, Taiwan
2016 Kayleigh Reed Recipient Asian Studies and English Westfield, NY Urdu  
2015 Nida Syed Recipient Biomedical Science Williamsville, NY Urdu Lucknow, India
2012 Amanda Buonopane Recipient Anthropology Lewiston, NY Indonesian Malang, Indonesia
2012 Breana Limina Recipient Geography North Tonawanda, NY Chinese Xi'an, China
2012 Matthew Zambito Recipient Philosophy East Amherst, NY Turkish Bursa, Turkey
2011 Jill Ricotta Recipient French and Political Science Getzville, NY Arabic Tunis, Tunisia
2011 Karl Sarvestani Recipient Linguistics   Chinese Shanghai, China
2010 Amanda Barbour Recipient Spanish and Political Science Tonawanda, NY Arabic Tunis, Tunisia
2008 Sarajane Gomlak-Green Recipient Geological Sciences Buffalo, NY Korean Suwon, South Korea
2008 Megan MacDonald Recipient Comparative Literature West Dennis, MA Urdu Lucknow, India
2008 Christine Slocum Recipient Psychology Seattle, WA Russian Astrakhan, Russia