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CIEE Announces Intensive Language Scholarship to Promote Full-Year Study Abroad

CIEE, the world’s leading nonprofit international educational and exchange program organization, has initiated a scholarship program to encourage full-year intensive language study by today’s top U.S. college and university students. CIEE’s Language Intensive Focus Track Scholarship (LIFT) will provide $100,000 annually to encourage students to study one of five languages—Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, or Russian—for a year in another country.

CIEE President and CEO James P. Pellow, Ed.D., explains, “The LIFT scholarship program reflects CIEE’s long-standing commitment to intensive foreign language acquisition, particularly in the strategic languages that are so important for today’s students seeking to prepare for 21st century global challenges. Our goal is to enable more students to study language for a full academic year, an important element in deep language acquisition and an option that is becoming more difficult for students to access each year.”

LIFT scholarships will be initially offered to current CIEE students pursuing intensive language development in Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Russian, and will expand to all CIEE language programs beginning in fall 2013. Scholarship awards will be a minimum of $5,000 and will be awarded to exemplary students based on undergraduate GPA and the strength of a personal essay.

CIEE Chief Academic Officer Neal Sobania, Ph.D., indicates that LIFT is part of CIEE’s broader commitment to enhancing language acquisition and intercultural skills. “Extended language study, traditionally seen as a cornerstone of international education, should continue to play a critical role in certain students’ preparation for living and working in an increasingly globalized and interdependent world. Advanced language skills allow students to better embrace local culture and make them more marketable for jobs following graduation.” 

In addition to initiating the LIFT program, Dr. Sobania has launched a pilot program that leverages the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) pre- and post-testing methods to test language pedagogy at CIEE Study Centers in China, Japan, and Russia. Results of the pilot will be used to enhance language instruction at all CIEE Study Centers around the world.