Top 5 Foreign Language Scholarships

By Katie Bolin , last updated October 13, 2011

Finding a foreign language scholarship is a great way to fund your language studies and introduce you to foreign cultures and people. Obtaining a foreign language scholarship depends on many factors like the language you wish to study, the university you attend, and the length of the program you desire. It is recommended to first talk to your school's study abroad advisors to see what foreign language scholarships are available at your school, as many schools within universities have exclusive scholarships reserved for their students. Otherwise, here is a list of the top 5 foreign language scholarships available to university students in general.

CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program
The CIA student work program is a competitive scholarship for undergraduate and graduate students. Among other areas of study, you can elect language study under their Undergraduate Scholarship Program. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and are held to the same standards as CIA employees. Strong academics are recommended, as it is necessary to have a 3.0 GPA or better to apply. The foreign language majors who are accepted into this program will work with translating documents and learning foreign policy. Check out the website for more information on what the scholarship covers monetarily.
Critical Language Scholarship Program
The Critical Language Scholarship Program is a program from the United States Department of State and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. This program offers summer intensive language study abroad in what they deem critical languages. The program is offered in thirteen different languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish and Urdu. This is a full scholarship language learning opportunity, as the CLS is fully funded and is available to undergraduate, Master's and Ph.D. U.S. citizens. The scholarship is awarded to students who can use their newly acquired language skills in a future profession.
National Italian American Foundation Scholarship
The National Italian American Foundation Scholarship is a scholarship that funds Italian American students or other students who choose to study the Italian language or related Italian subjects at a university. The scholarship can be used to cover tuition as well as living expenses including room and board at any U.S. accredited university. Students can be awarded anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000. However, this scholarship is only available for study in the United States for undergraduate students.
IES Merit-Based Scholarships
These scholarships are only available to students that have already been accepted to an IES study abroad. There are merit-based scholarships available for many different regions, countries, languages, majors and terms to choose from. The Excellence in a Foreign Language Scholarship is accessible for students looking to study Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese or Spanish. The scholarship award is up to $3,000.
Fulbright Scholars
Fulbright is a historical and renowned scholar-funding program that sends undergraduate and graduate students to many different countries around the world. You can use their search parameters to narrow down the search results by selecting world area, country or program, then the category of study you wish to commence. Check out the website for more in-depth information.
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