The University of Iowa

Four UI students awarded prestigious Critical Language Scholarships for 2018

June 5th, 2018

The following students from the University of Iowa have been awarded U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) to study critical languages during the summer of 2018:

Name Language Hometown Host Location
Alexander Bare Arabic Walcott, IA Ibri, Oman
Elijah Bratsch-Prince Arabic Ames, IA Amman, Jordan
Alexander Duff Chinese Volga, IA Changchun, China
Shane Weitzman Hindi Leominster, MA Jaipur, India

UI political science major Eli Bratsch-Prince will head to Amman, Jordan, to study at the Jordan Language Academy for an intensive Arabic language program

UI anthropology major Shane Weitzman will spend the summer studying Hindi in Jaipur, India, participating in intensive Hindi courses at the American Institute of Indian Studies

UI international relations major Alex Bare will travel to Ibri, Oman, for an intensive language and cultural immersion program at the Noor Majan Institute 
Alex Duff

UI Chinese language and literature and accounting major Alex Duff will head to China for an intensive language and cultural immersion program at the College of Humanities & Sciences of Northeast Normal University in Changchun

"Critical" languages are those that are less commonly taught in U.S. schools, but are essential for America’s engagement with the world. CLS plays an important role in preparing U.S. students for the 21st century’s globalized workforce, increasing American competitiveness, and contributing to national security. CLS scholars serve as citizen ambassadors, representing the diversity of the United States abroad and building lasting relationships with people in their host countries.CLS provides scholarships to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to spend eight to ten weeks overseas studying one of 14 critical languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, or Urdu. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. CLS scholars are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship and apply their critical language skills in their future careers.The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. CLS scholars gain critical language and cultural skills that enable them to contribute to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. These students join approximately 550 competitively-selected American students at U.S. colleges and universities who received a CLS award in 2018.

CLS participants represent a broad diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. CLS actively recruits in states and regions of the United States that have been historically under-represented in international education. Recipients of the 2018 CLS awards include students from over 230 institutions of higher education across the United States, including public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, minority-serving institutions, and community colleges.

Since 2006, CLS has awarded scholarships to more than 5,700 American students to learn critical languages around the world. CLS scholars are among the more than 50,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. These exchange programs build respect and positive relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The CLS program is administered by American Councils for International Education.

For further information about the Critical Language Scholarship or other exchange programs offered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, please contact or visit and