Friday, April 13, 2018


Alex Duff

University of Iowa Chinese language and literature and accounting major Alex Duff of Volga, Iowa, has been awarded a 2018 U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). Duff will head to China this summer for an intensive language and cultural immersion program at the College of Humanities & Sciences of Northeast Normal University in Changchun.

The CLS scholarship is a program of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and is intended to help broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages while building relationships between people of the United States and other countries. The CLS Program provides fully-funded group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment activities for seven to ten weeks for U.S. citizen undergraduate and graduate students.  

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 of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. 

"I see this experience allowing me to quickly make gains in my Chinese proficiency," said Duff. "CLS participants usually make about a year's worth of language growth in 2 short months. This increase will allow me to take more advanced Chinese courses upon my return, impacting both my final semesters at Iowa and my future career path."

Duff also represents the University of Iowa as a student ambassador to the US-China Strong Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to strengthen US-China relations by expanding and diversifying the number of Americans learning Mandarin and studying abroad in China. As an ambassador, Duff meets with local middle school students to talk about China study abroad opportunities and his own experience through the State Department’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program. 

Learn more information about the CLS Program here