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Encouraging study in critical languages.

Proficiency in certain foreign languages is critical to the defense, diplomacy, and security of the United States. Yet relatively few U.S. students study the languages that are spoken in many strategically important areas--such as the Middle East, China, and Russia. To encourage high school and college students to learn the languages of these regions, several federal programs provide scholarships and other funding.

For example, through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth, high school students live with host families abroad and learn Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Russian, or Turkish. Students choose a language program for the summer, semester, or full academic year. Most expenses are covered, including travel to and from the host country, room and board, tuition, and health benefits. Participants must be U.S. citizens, 15 to 18 years old, and have a grade-point average of 2.5 or above. For more information, visit the program website,; call toll-free, 1 (866) 790-2086; or email

Undergraduate and graduate students may apply for scholarships for intensive study of critical languages overseas through the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Critical Language Scholarship institutes provide intensive language study and structured cultural enrichment opportunities for 13 critical languages. These institutes are for 7 to 10 weeks each summer in 15 countries. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, at least 18 years old, and currently enrolled in a U.S. undergraduate or graduate degree program. For full eligibility requirements and more information, visit online at, call (202) 633-5005, or email

Another funding source for critical language study is the National Security Education Program of the U.S. Department of Defense. To prepare undergraduate and graduate students for future federal service, this program provides training in less commonly studied languages, including Hindi, Swahili, and Urdu. It offers scholarships and fellowships for overseas study through Boren Awards and intensive language study coupled with overseas language instruction for undergraduates through the Language Flagship program. Award requirements and amounts vary, but recipients must commit to work for the federal government for 1 year. Training initiatives include scholarships, fellowships, and instructional programs. For more information, visit online at www.nsep. gov/initiatives; write to the National Security Education Program, P.O. Box 20010, Arlington, VA 22219; call (703) 696-1991: or email


Those are not the only federal scholarships and programs available for critical language study. For example, additional funding is provided for Gilman Scholarship recipients studying in countries where critical languages are spoken; students applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program may also apply for a Critical Language Enhancement Award for up to 6 months of intensive critical language training; and the ROTC Language and Culture program promotes critical language education, study abroad, and intercultural dialogue opportunities for ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) college students. To explore additional opportunities in critical language studies, visit www, (search "critical language") or
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Title Annotation:Grab bag
Publication:Occupational Outlook Quarterly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2011
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