UA Student Receives Critical Language Scholarship

From UA News | April 23, 2019

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Erin Behland, a University of Alabama graduating senior from Chicago, has received a Critical Language Scholarship to study Mandarin in China.

Behland is majoring in international relations, history and anthropology with a minor in Chinese. She previously received a Critical Language Scholarship in 2017. Since her first scholarship, Behland has studied at The University of Glasgow in Scotland and traveled across Greece studying ancient western civilization via the UA in Greece study abroad program.

In the fall, she was selected as an intern at the U.S. State Department in the Bureau of Human Rights, Democracy, and Labor in the Office of East Asia and the Pacific. After graduation, Behland hopes to attend law school and eventually work as an ambassador on U.S.-China relations.

The Critical Language Scholarship 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.

The program provides scholarships to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to spend eight to 10 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.

Students interested in Critical Language Scholarships, Boren Scholarships or Fulbright Awards may contact the Capstone International Center at for more information.