"Rachael Merritt and Dominque Johnson - rising juniors - enrolled in the same Russian 101 class in the Fall of 2017. Now, they share another experience: both secured highly competitive Critical Language Scholarships to study in Russia this summer. The Critical Language Scholarship program (CLS), funded by the U.S. Department of State, will allow Rachael and Dominque to study Russian in an immersive environment amongst other dedicated American students. Below, they share their thoughts about their accomplishments and hopes for the program." -Aleks Marciniak, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures

Rachael Merritt


"This summer, I am beyond excited to be traveling to Russia for the very first time on the CLS program. I will be living with a host family and studying in Nizhny Novgorod for eight weeks. I am looking forward to trying some authentic Russian сметана (real sour-cream), putting to use all the Russian idioms I know, and appreciating, first hand, the cultural diversity that we learn so much about in Russian class." - Rachael Merritt

Dominque Johnson


"With the Critical Language Scholarship, I will be experiencing a fully immersive Russian language program this summer. I will be studying Russian at the KORA Russian Language Center in Vladimir, Russia. Classroom study will be about four hours a day; five times a week. I will also be participating in various cultural activities to gain a breadth of experience with the Russian culture. While in Russia, I will be living with a Russian host family that will provide conversational practice every day. I am very excited about having the opportunity to explore important Russian historical sites and learn more about the history of Vladimir, Russia. Overall, I am thrilled to be able to learn more about a different culture and make new friends along the way." - Dominque Johnson