The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a summer intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program.

Students spend eight to ten weeks abroad studying one of the languages that are critical to national security and economic prosperity. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.

Students interested in studying Arabic, Chinese, or Russian through a summer virtual program should consider CLS Spark



  • Class year: Currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students at the time of application
  • Citizenship: U.S. citizenship at the time of application

Other eligibility guidelines:

  • Be at least 18 years old by May of the year your CLS Program begins
  • Some CLS languages require previous study. For CLS Spark, no previous formal classroom experience learning the language is required.

Applying & Resources

To be considered for a Critical Language Scholarship or CLS Spark, you must apply directly to the CLS Program. Carefully review the application guidance provided by the CLS Program. 

Interested candidates must schedule an appointment with the Davidson College Office of Education Abroad to discuss international travel, potential credit opportunities, and Davidson's summer study abroad program application.

For additional information, review application tips and resources in the Critical Language Scholarship Application Toolkit (Davidson login required) and schedule an Office of Fellowships advising appointment with Gaylena Merritt, Director of Fellowships.


Davidson Critical Language Scholars

2024 - Tiffany Haydt ’24 (Korean), Yutika Patel ’26 (Hindi)

2023 - Kostas Mateer (Russian, declined)

2021 - Talar Terzian (Chinese)

2019 - Catherine Cartier (Persian, declined), Grace Covelli (Persian, declined), Anna Dolder (Arabic), Dana Schrock (Arabic, declined)

2018 - Sunia Young (Persian)

2017 - Alston Lippert (Chinese)

2016 - Sarah Aziz (Persian), Abby Ordillas (Chinese)

2015 - Mohammed (Jake) El Sarhan (Arabic), Jessica Gumucio (Russian)

2013 - Suncica Dragas (Russian)

2011 - Caroline Emch (Arabic), Vitaly Radsky (Russian)

2010 - Brittany Ell (Chinese)