Conceived by Peter the Great as a “Window to the West,” and christened “The Cradle of the Great October Socialist Revolution,” St. Petersburg is the perfect setting to explore the intriguing complexities of Russia’s past and present.
Whether you’re beginning or continuing your study of the Russian language, studying abroad in St. Petersburg will help you develop your skills while gaining a greater appreciation of Russian politics, history, and culture. And with homestays, peer tutors, volunteering, excursions, and specialized cultural events, study abroad in Russia offers you unparalleled insight into the city, county, and people, and an a truly immersive international experience.
Study abroad in Russia and you will:
Improve your Russian language proficiency, and learn about Russian culture in an authentic and stimulating environment in the longest-running U.S. study abroad program in Russia
Experience a rich cultural program including local and regional excursions, visits to museums and historical sites, and theaters, and interaction with locals
Live in 300-year old St. Petersburg, known as the “Venice of the North,” and experience the relationship between traditional and modern forces impacting Russia today
The CIEE Difference
Build a curriculum that suits your needs and abilities. Choose from two levels of Russian language courses as well as a host of Area Studies electives – taught in English – on a variety of subjects from history, politics and sociology, to art, literature and cinema.
Explore the city through a series of museum visits, boat tours, a group cooking class in Russian cuisine, visits to the Russian bathhouse, and tickets to concerts, ballets, and sporting events.
The study abroad program also offers three overnight field trips that take place on the weekend each semester: Moscow, Novgorod, and other regional destinations such as the Pskov region or Kiev, Ukraine. These trips include excursions to places of educational, cultural, and historic significance, while still allowing some time for you to explore the sites on your own.
Each semester, study abroad students organize a special cultural event. This event is a chance for you to delve into a specific topic of Russian history and experience that epoch in a fun and entertaining way with other students from the School of Political Science or their Sobesedniki. In past semesters, students have organized a Spring Ball (the period of Catherine the Great), a Stilyagi (Retro Hipsters style of the 1950s) project, and a Russian Rock project that culminated in a live performance by study abroad students accompanied by professional musicians.
Recommended credit for the semester is 17–18 semester/25.5–27 quarter hours.
Course contact hours for CIEE area studies courses are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours per course. Course contact hours for CIEE language courses are 84 hours and recommended credit is 4 semester/ 6 quarter hours.per course, unless otherwise indicated.
Study abroad students must take the Russian language component at the elementary or intermediate level. Participants are placed at the appropriate language level based on language testing conducted at the beginning of the program. It consists of two courses—grammar and conversation. In addition, students take three area studies courses taught in English. Students may also enroll in the CIEE Seminar on Living and Learning course to enrich their overall experience of living in a foreign country.
About St. Petersburg
Envisioned by Peter the Great as the “Window to the West” and created by French and Italian architects, St. Petersburg became a testimony to opulence with golden palaces, pastel-colored mansions, and landscaped parks, gardens, and canals. Having endured the horrors of World War II and Stalinist repression, the people now cope with a new political and economic reality. Known as Leningrad from 1924 to 1991, the city of nearly five million is easily navigated by foot, bus, trolley, and an efficient metro system.
Where You’ll Study
Founded in the 18th century, St. Petersburg State University is one of Russia’s leading institutions of higher education. The campus has expanded from its original site on the Neva River, and now includes over 400 buildings around the city center. CIEE students study at the University’s stunning Smolny campus—on the territory of the renowned school for noble ladies founded in 1764—in a quiet neighborhood on the east side of downtown St. Petersburg.
Housing & Meals
All study abroad students have the option to live in Russian homestays. Participants have their own room with a Russian family in a private apartment. Housing and most meals (two meals daily and three on weekends) are included in the program fee. Students are responsible for weekday lunches. The University cafeteria offers very reasonably priced meals.
CIEE also offers a limited number of rooms at a hostel in downtown St. Petersburg. The hostel is located within a 5-minute walk of Nevskiy Prospekt and a 10-minute bus to the CIEE Study Center or a 20-minute walk. Students are placed in a single room with a double bed.
2013 marks the 46th year of the CIEE Study Center in St. Petersburg. CIEE began its close relationship with St. Petersburg State University when the Summer Russian Language Program began there in 1967. The CIEE semester Russian Area Studies program (RAS) was established in 2000.
The Russian Area Studies program is for students who are interested in an academic program in Russia with an English component. The program offers a set of courses, taught in English, on Russian history, culture, politics, civilization, and cinema as well as a rigorous language program.
The study abroad program is designed for students with zero to four semesters of Russian. Students at a higher level (having taken at least one Russian class beyond intermediate) enroll in the Russian Language Program. Cross-registration between RAS and RLP is not possible.
Classroom attendance and participation are monitored carefully and may have a significant impact on final grades. Homework assignments serve to reinforce what is discussed in class. Much of the academic material is presented in class, and the 90-minute periods provide plenty of time for a range of learning activities.
All electives are taught by experienced instructors who have experience teaching American students in Russia and in the United States. In-class participation often accounts for a large percentage of students’ grades as Russian teaching methodology emphasizes in-class learning.
CIEE teachers have years of experience with American students, but sometimes they may express their feelings more frankly than Americans expect.
The area studies classes may include visiting lecturers, topic specific visits to museums, and other activities.
NATURE OF CLASSES
Participants take classes with other CIEE study abroad students only and not with Russian students.
TUTORING AND ORAL PROFICIENCY INTERVIEW
Our study center offers extra help with language classes in the form of tutoring. Students’ personal needs in language learning are met in sessions conducted either with experienced instructors or students of the St. Petersburg State University Philological department. In these sessions, students can go over difficult topics of Russian grammar or classwork. Our program includes OPI testing which is conducted at the beginning and end of each semester, allowing students to receive a quantifiable score of their oral proficiency progress.
As students gain proficiency in Russian, resident staff encourage them to use their language skills in everyday settings, in school and homestays, and on the streets. Students from the Russian Area Studies Program should respect that their peers in the Russian Language Program are expected to speak Russian at all times within the CIEE Study Center.
Grades are assigned using the Russian grading scale of one to five and converted to U.S. letter grade equivalents. Plus and minus grades are also assigned. Grades are determined by a combination of short quizzes, written assignments, and exams. Additionally, participation often accounts for a large percentage of students’ grades as Russian teaching methodology emphasizes in-class learning. Attendance is mandatory for all CIEE courses.
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION
All courses are taught by faculty from St. Petersburg State University.