University of Washington

Language Instruction

at the University of Washington | at other US universities | in Southeast Asia

Language Instruction at the University of Washington

The Department of Asian Languages and Literature offers instruction in Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese while the Department of American Ethnic Studies offers instruction in Tagalog. Khmer and Burmese are offered by the Jackson School of International Studies (JSIS). Emphasis is placed on the roles of these languages within the cultures they serve as well as on linguistic, textual, and literary analysis.

The Language Learning Center provides services and resources that advance language study and instruction for students, faculty, and departments at the University of Washington.

Finally, the Experimental College offers non-credit instruction in Conversational Tagalog.

 Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships

Through the Office of Student Services at the Jackson School of International Studies, academic-year Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships are awarded for language and area studies relating to Southeast Asia. For graduate students, awards pay up to $18,000 for tuition and most fees, including graduate appointee health insurance, plus a stipend of $15,000. Undergraduate students can receive up to $10,000 for tuition and most fees, and a $5,000 stipend. Summer FLAS fellowships are awarded solely to support intensive language study. They provide tuition up to $5,000 and a stipend of $2,500, and may be used at the University of Washington, at other US universities, or abroad.

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Language Instruction at Other US Universities

The Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI) is an eight-week intensive language training program for undergraduates, graduate students and professionals. It has been held since 1984 and is currently hosted by UW-Madison. Instruction is offered for academic credit in nine languages, including Burmese, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Khmer, Lao, Thai, and Vietnamese at the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year levels.

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Language Instruction in Southeast Asia


The Advanced Study of Khmer (ASK) Program is an intensive six-week advanced Khmer language-training program held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It aims to fill in a void in the academic community by providing 3rd year level students a "one-of-a-kind" opportunity to acquire the linguistic foundation necessary to engage in academic research, professional discourse, and cultural interaction with all segments of Cambodian society.

The Summer Abroad Program: Khmer Language and Culture, is an intensive six-week training in Khmer language-culture held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The program is administered by Khmer Language Program at the University of Hawai'i, and in collaboration with the Center for Khmer Studies, Royal University of Phnom-Penh, Cambodia. This program with one week home-stays in rural of Cambodia provides students with a "one-of-a-kind" opportunity to acquire the linguistic foundation necessary to engage in academic research, professional discourse, and cultural immersion with all segments of Khmer society.


NOTE - Program ended 2013. The Advanced Study of Thai (AST) program is an intensive eight-week course of instruction in advanced Thai language conducted in Thailand with instruction provided by members of the faculty of Chiang Mai University (CMU), Chiang Mai, Thailand. 


The Consortium for Teaching Indonesian (COTI) program is designed to provide intensive and specialized instruction in Indonesian. One of the primary goals of the program is to provide an in-country experience whereby participants learn to use Indonesian on a daily basis while at the same time developing the social skills appropriate for residence in the region. Participants carry out a field project under the supervision of a faculty member of the Universitas Sam Ratulangi (UNSRAT). These research projects do not entail a great deal of library research. Rather, they provide an additional opportunity for the participants to interact with the community both within and without the university setting. Participants should plan to consider this a full-time educational endeavor and should not plan to carry on any other academic projects for the duration of the program.

The United States - Indonesia Society (USINDO) runs an intensive ten-week language and general studies program for US students - selected in a competitive application process - in Indonesia at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Central Java.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program offers fully-funded summer language institutes for U.S. university students and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The CLS Program in Indonesia provides an intensive language learning environment. Students receive a minimum of 20 hours per week of formal classroom instruction by trained and experienced teachers. Classes focus on improving students’ skills in listening, reading, writing, speaking, and spoken interaction. Participants are also required to take part in organized semi-formal and informal learning activities that promote interaction with the host community and culture. These activities will support the formal classroom instruction.


The Vietnamese Advanced Summer Institute (VASI) is funded by a grant from the US Department of Education. It is an intensive eight-week course of study in advanced Vietnamese to be conducted in Viet Nam with instruction provided by the Hanoi Vietnamese Language Center, under the auspices of the Hanoi University of Foreign Studies, and the Saigon Vietnamese Language School for Foreigners, under the aegis of the Viet Nam National Ministry of Education & Training.


Students at Study Abroad In Laos (SAIL) will be participating in a Lao language program tailored specifically to the group’s needs at one of the country’s most acclaimed, and popular, language institutions – the Lao-American College. SAIL participants spend three to four hours a day in classroom training and can pair up with Lao students to further improve their speaking and listening comprehension. Classroom time is split between language lessons and a newly updated, comprehensive Lao History and Culture course taught by foreign and local experts. Weekend tours and excursions to many of Laos’ most important sites and destinations re included as part of your cultural immersion experience and are a highlight of the program.

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Southeast Asia Center
University of Washington
303 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-9606 tel
(206) 685-0668 fax

Laurie Sears, Director

Rick Bonus, Director of Graduate Studies

Sara Van Fleet, Associate Director

Tikka Sears, Outreach Coordinator

Mary Barnes, Program Assistant

Linda Cuadra, Graduate Student Assistant