OURS National Scholarships

CLS Spark

Next deadline: November 2024

A program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), CLS Spark is a new virtual initiative for U.S. undergraduate students to spend an academic year learning languages essential to America’s engagement with the world. Designed to leverage best practices in online language learning developed by the CLS Program during the pandemic, CLS Spark provides American students the opportunity to study Arabic, Chinese, or Russian virtually when they may not have access to language learning on their campuses or the ability to travel overseas. Participants in CLS Spark will receive automatic consideration as semifinalists for the CLS Program’s 2025 overseas summer institutes, if they are still eligible and choose to apply.

Prospective applicants should make an individual advising appointment with Alicia Hayes in the OURS National Scholarships Office.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or national
  • be enrolled in a U.S. degree-granting undergraduate program (AA, BA, BS) physically located in the United States; currently enrolled students who are currently on study abroad programs are eligible
  • be 18 years of age by May 15, 2025
  • have completed one year of undergraduate study by the start of the program
  • have no formal training in the languages being offered

Selection Criteria

Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of merit, with consideration for:

  • the impact of participation in CLS Spark on their access to language and intercultural learning opportunities
  • preparation for CLS Spark, including interest in learning a language and culture and capacity to successfully complete a long-term online language program
  • motivation, including articulated personal, academic, and professional goals and consideration of how participation in CLS Spark may contribute to the achievement of those goals
  • potential for leadership and citizen diplomacy, including interest in problem-solving and ability to contribute to ECA’s mission to build mutual understanding

Application Requirements

  • Online application (personal/academic information)
  • Three essay questions:
    1) Statement of Motivation and Commitment (350 words)
    2) Statement of Experience (350 words)
    3) Access to Language Learning Opportunities (200 words)
  • Unofficial transcript from UC Berkeley (and other colleges/universities if classes not transferred and shown on UCB transcript)

For more information about this opportunity, visit the CLS Spark website (opens external site).