Strategic Learning at the Critical Language Institute

Sonia Elizondo

Sonia Elizondo

Staff Writer

The United States government has a list of languages that they have deemed to be “critical need languages”. These are languages that are said to be particularly important for the country moving forward, mostly for political reasons, but also includes those that do not have enough speakers in the country to match the need. To address those needs here at Arizona State University (ASU), we have the Critical Languages Institute (CLI) in the Melikian Center.

I first heard about the CLI when a fellow T-bird told me how he had studied Russian last summer through their intensive language program. He recommended I do the same as a way of learning a new language quickly and relatively cheaply (the CLI has a flat rate of $1,500 for its courses with no tuition fees involved). As I am both a language nerd and have career goals that could be helped by knowing a few Eastern European languages, I went ahead and applied to take an intensive course this summer. Honestly, I didn’t think much of it.

Then Russia invaded Ukraine.

Low and behold, it just so happened that the language I had applied to learn this summer was Ukrainian, and I received my acceptance to the program within 48 hours of the invasion. Guess who is suddenly, DEFINITELY learning a new language this year? That’s right, this girl!

Unfortunately, part of the reason I was initially hesitant was because the applications closed in January, so I was unable to apply for scholarships as well. However, if anyone else is interested in the CLI, I would suggest reaching out to see if there are any positions open or plan on applying for next year. 

If you are interested, the full list of languages being taught in the CLI in 2022 are as follows:

  • Albanian
  • Armenian
  • Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS)
  • Hebrew
  • Indonesian
  • Kazakh
  • Macedonian
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Tatar
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Uzbek

More information about the CLI can be found on their website here.

As we enter an uncertain era in global politics and business, I hope you will join me in learning a language that can help us better understand the world we are living in today.

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