3 Scholarships for Foreign Language Majors

Since the ambassadors sent on overseas trips by George Washington, through the establishment of the Peace Corps by John F. Kennedy, all the way to the current day, the United States has always prided itself on being a country of multiculturalism. We seek to learn more about our worldwide neighbors through the most common thread of society: language.

Today, in our age of instant commerce and global trade, it is vital for students to learn foreign languages before entering the workforce. A study from 2008 showed that nearly 93% of American secondary schools offer at least one foreign language course, with many requiring it to graduate. This trend, coupled with the growing popularity of study-abroad programs, has led to a very large number of college students majoring in a foreign language. Here are a few scholarships for foreign language majors can take to help them find their way in a new country or discipline:

Multiple country flags on the balconies of white and brown buildings.

Boren Awards for International Study

Deadline: February 3, 2021

Amount: Varying

President George H.W. Bush in 1991 established The National Security Education Program, or NSEP, to accomplish two goals. First, to give American students an understanding of global culture through its international programs, and secondly, to strengthen the country’s security through the younger generations finding common ground. The program’s flagship initiative is the David L. Boren Awards for International Study, which aims to cull successful students from all over the country and send them abroad to both learn about other cultures as well as serve as quasi-ambassadors for both the country and the program.

The program centers around the practical learning of languages, considered unique, that are rarely taught in the US. The award winners go abroad to their chosen countries and experience a life where they must use their studied language practically. To be eligible, students must be a US citizen that is currently enrolled in college who is willing to commit to at least one year of federal government work following their enrollment. As it is a “full-ride” study program in various regions, financial rewards vary as well, but the website gives the maximum amount of money of $8,000 towards a summer program and $10,000 for a full semester.

No origination fees or prepayment penalties

Fixed rates from 3.85% - 7.91% APR with auto-debit

Learn More

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Deadline: March 3, 2020; October 6, 2020

Amount: $5,000

Do all students in this country have an equal opportunity to study abroad? In the words of a famous American who lived much of his life in Europe, Ernest Hemingway, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” The ugly truth is that many American youths simply cannot produce the funds necessary to foot an overseas trip, in many cases especially those already paying for college. Our Institute of International Education aims to right this wrong through the Gilman Scholarship, which helps, in their own words, “U.S. undergraduates who might otherwise not participate [in overseas travel] due to financial constraints.” T

To be eligible for the Gilman Scholarship, students must be American citizens that demonstrate financial need. Additionally, the scholarship takes into account several other aspects of a student’s background to determine their level of need for assistance. Much like the Boren Award, the program encourages students to go to nations not traditionally visited by students. Additionally, the program prides itself on being available to students from all fifty states, as well as Washington DC and the territories. The applicants must also commit to a service project that they will undertake, either at home or abroad, that will promote global education initiatives.

Critical Language Scholarship Program

Deadline: Varying

Amount: Varying

Established in 2006, the Critical Language Scholarship Program states on their website that they have sent over 5,000 students to countries all over the world to spread their message: the importance of language. Open to both graduate and undergraduate students and funded by the State Department, the CLS Program promotes global understanding and cultural blending through their exchange programs, which are fully funded by the foundation. What makes this program stand out among the others is the wide range of language courses offered, including Urdu, Azerbaijani, Turkish, Persian, and Punjabi. The program refers to its students as “citizen ambassadors,” underscoring the importance of their role in promoting international understanding. The CLS Program offers every applicant a unique and special experience in the global community, and hey, where else do you get to learn Azerbaijani?

And remember, schools offer scholarships for foreign language majors, so make sure you look for scholarship opportunities at the colleges you’re interested in! College Raptor can help you see what sort of financial aid you could potentially receive from various schools.