MTSU matches students with international language ...

MTSU matches students with international language needs

Azerbaijani, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu are among the languages that can take MTSU students to fascinating, far-flung parts of the world through the Critical Language Scholarship program.

MTSU is encouraging students to take advantage of CLS to fill a pressing need for more Americans to master these languages, and others, that are strategically important for commerce, diplomacy and humanitarianism.

A Critical Language Scholarship provides undergraduates and graduate students with fully funded, group-based, intensive language instruction and structured cultural-enrichment activities abroad for seven to 10 weeks.

In 2011, CLS issued nearly 600 awards to U.S. citizen undergraduate and graduate students out of more than 5,200 applicants. MTSU is promoting Critical Language Scholarships for the upcoming academic year, along with the Fulbright Program, Boren scholarships and Gilman scholarships.

Laura Clippard, Undergraduate Fellowships Office coordinator for national scholarships, and Tiffany Bickers, director of the Office of Education Abroad, assist students in applying for the coveted educational experiences.

“What we find is that students simply do not know the opportunities that exist in the fellowship realm,” says Clippard. “MTSU students can combine their passion for academics with other opportunities.”

CLS participants receive 20 hours of formal language learning per week and are partnered with peers to practice their language.

The cultural benefits include residing with local families or others who speak the native language and participating in activities with a language-learning component, student-driven projects and roundtable discussions, and learning from guest speakers.

Instruction is available for Arabic and Persian at advanced beginning, intermediate and advanced levels; Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Turkish and Urdu at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels; and Chinese, Japanese and Russian at intermediate and advanced levels.

Countries may include Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Russia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey and others where the target languages are spoken.

Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

Students applying for CLS are encouraged to contact Clippard at 615-898-5464 or

— Gina K. Logue (