Global studies major
Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies
Wilmington, North Carolina
Critical Language Scholarship
Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program
Wells’ advice to students interested in applying for the CLS Program: “Don’t give up, and seek out ways to develop your resume and yourself.”
Shannon Wells, senior global studies major at Appalachian
BOONE, N.C. — When it comes to applying for the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program, for Appalachian State University senior Shannon Wells, the third time’s the charm. Wells, a Wilmington native and global studies major at Appalachian, was recently awarded a Critical Language Scholarship to continue her study of the Japanese language, as well as Japanese culture, this summer in Hikone, Japan.
The CLS Program is offered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and allows students to study a critical need language through a fully funded, intensive summer program overseas.
This May, Wells will travel to Hikone and spend the summer studying Japanese in an immersive cultural setting at the University of Shiga Prefecture. In addition to increasing her Japanese language proficiency, she will have the opportunity to study Japanese culture. Traditional Japanese folk dancing and studying with a calligraphy master at a local Buddhist temple are already on Wells’ calendar of events.
Wells said she has “been applying to this program for over three years now,” and attributes her success to her ability to view “each rejection as an opportunity to improve.”
“My sophomore year, I studied abroad in Kyoto, Japan; my junior year, I worked with a Japanese prefectural unit in Seattle, Washington, over the summer; and this year, I have taken on several leadership positions around campus,” Wells said.
She emphasized that, while she did not pursue these prior opportunities specifically to receive a CLS, they did allow her the opportunity to “become competitive and more prepared for future endeavors.”
Nationwide, about 5,500 students applied for the CLS Program, which offers overseas language and cultural immersion programs in 14 different languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu. Wells is among approximately 550 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who received a CLS in 2018.
To be eligible for the CLS Japanese Program, she needed two years of prior Japanese study. However, most languages offered by the CLS Program do not require applicants to have previous experience, as the goal of the program is to increase the number of Americans studying critical foreign languages.
Wells received a Study Abroad Scholarship supported by The Appalachian Fund in 2016-17, which funded her travel to Kyoto, Japan, where she studied Japanese at Ritsumeikan University. During her study abroad, Wells also received a scholarship from the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO). The scholarship provided 80,000 yen, or approximately $700 per month of her stay.
Her advice to students interested in applying for a CLS is “don’t give up, and seek out ways to develop your resume and yourself.”
Applicants from diverse backgrounds, academic majors and regions of the U.S. are encouraged to apply.
About Nationally Competitive Scholarships
Nationally Competitive Scholarships (NCS) works with the Appalachian community to recruit and support students for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships, including those that support research, teaching and critical language learning. This is achieved with outreach, mentorship and advising throughout the entire application and selection process. NCS is committed to helping undergraduate and graduate students find ways to connect their Appalachian education to their future endeavors through scholarship opportunities. Learn more at https://ncs.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies
The Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies offers degrees in global studies, interdisciplinary studies, and gender, women’s and sexuality studies. The department is also home to Watauga Residential College, an interdisciplinary, alternative general education program. The department promotes creative and imaginative engagement in cross-disciplinary investigation of complex systems and problems. Learn more at https://cgg.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.