UA Student Earns Critical Language Scholarship to Study Chinese

UA Student Earns Critical Language Scholarship to Study Chinese

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Erin Behland, a junior at The University of Alabama, has been awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship to study Chinese in Dalian, China, during the summer of 2017.

Erin Behland

Behland, a member of UA’s Honors College, is from Chicago.

Majoring in international studies, history and anthropology with a minor in Chinese, Behland is the vice president and co-founder of the Chinese Culture Club. In the summer of 2016, she participated in the UA in China: Language & Culture study abroad program.

In the fall, Behland will take advantage of another UA study abroad opportunity through an exchange program with the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

This past year, she held a part-time job at The Career Center in the Ferguson Center and had an internship with Project Health and Gamma. As an Emerging Scholar, Behland has conducted undergraduate research with Dr. Diana Dolliver, UA assistant professor of criminal justice; and Dr. Nicholas Kerr, UA assistant professor of political science.

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. Behland is one of approximately 550 competitively selected American students at U.S. colleges and universities who received a CLS award in 2017.

She is the 15th UA student to win a Critical Language Scholarship since 2006.

CLS 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.


Richard LeComte, media relations,, 205/348-3782


Megan Wagner, Capstone International Center Coordinator, 205/348-9002,