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Russia: Russian Area Studies in St. Petersburg (CIEE)
St. Petersburg, Russia
Program Terms: Academic Year,
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Restrictions: AU- applicants only
Budget Sheets Fall,
Fact Sheet:
Housing: Homestay Language Pre-requisite: none
Language of Instruction: English, Russian Language Courses Offered: Yes
 Non-AU Students Accepted:
No Internship: No
Advisor: Mark Hayes Minimum GPA: 2.75
Class Level Required for Admission: Second-semester Sophomore standing
 Program Type:
Partial Direct Enrollment
Program Description:

Is this program right for you?

This program is designed for students who have an interest in Russia. The program can accommodate different levels of language proficiency, especially beginning and intermediate Russian language students.

Academic Program

Academics Program Snapshot

  • Improve your Russian language proficiency with intensive training

  • Live in the beautiful 300-year old city of St. Petersburg and experience the relationship between traditional and modern elements influencing Russian society

  • Participate in optional volunteer projects organized through a well-developed network of contacts that facilitate integration into Russian society

  • Experience a rich cultural program including local and regional excursions, visits to museums and historical sites, and interaction with locals

  • Peer language partners

 The Russian Area Studies Program and the Summer Russian Areas Studies Program are 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, and civilization as well as a rigorous language program.

The program can accommodate students with no more than four semesters of Russian. Students at a higher level (having taken at least one Russian class beyond intermediate) enroll in the Russian Language Program. The RAS program cannot accommodate advanced learners and cross-registration between RAS and RLP is not possible.


Recommended credit for the semester is 17 credit hours and for the summer in 6 credit hours.
Course Equivalency: Click here to find out which courses on this program have already been equated to AU courses.

Academic Culture Classroom attendance and participation are monitored carefully and may have a significant impact on final grades. Though homework assignments are given, they serve to reinforce what is discussed in class. Much of the academic material is presented in class, and the 90-minute periods (called para) provide plenty of time for a range of learning activities. Students are expected to be prepared for class. Much of the material used is written by the teachers themselves, and exercises are often taken directly from the teacher's texts.

CIEE teachers have years of experience with American students, but sometimes they may express their feelings more frankly than Americans expect. A more traditional attitude toward behavior in the classroom means no wearing of baseball caps, no eating or drinking in class, and no feet on the furniture.

The area studies classes may include visiting lecturers, topic specific visits to museums, and other activities.

Student Life

Where You'll Study - St. Petersburg State University

Founded in the 18th century, St. Petersburg State University is one of Russia's leading institutions of higher learning. The University's 16 departments provide instruction for more than 20,000 students. The campus has expanded from its original site on the Neva River, and now includes over 400 buildings around the city center and the suburb of Peterhoff. CIEE students receive instruction through the University's Center of Russian Language and Culture on the Smolny campus, in a quiet neighborhood approximately 20 minutes from central St. Petersburg.

Students begin their study abroad experience by participating in a CIEE Online Pre-Departure Orientation before departing the United States. Upon arrival in St. Petersburg, all students participate in an intensive three-day introduction to Russia, the culture, health and safety, and the academic program. The orientation is supported by Russian assistants in order to facilitate students' entry into their new culture.

Housing and Meals

All students have the option to live in Russian homestays. Housing and most meals are included in the program fee. Participants have their own room with a Russian family in a private apartment. Two meals daily are included with the family (three on weekends). Students are responsible for weekday lunches except during the first two weeks of the program when CIEE arranges group lunches at the campus café.

There are also a limited number of rooms at a hostel in downtown St. Petersburg.

Internet Free wireless is available at the CIEE Study Center for students who bring wireless-enabled laptops. Additionally, there is a fee-for-service Internet classroom maintained by the Center for Russian Language and Culture. There are also many inexpensive Internet cafés throughout St. Petersburg.

The academic program is supplemented with excursions and field trips arranged by CIEE staff. Discussion of excursions is an integral part of class work. Although the schedule changes somewhat from year to year, typical excursions include a city bus tour, the Hermitage, the Peter and Paul Fortress, Pavlovsk, Peterhof, the Yusupov Palace, a walking tour of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Pushkin's Apartment Museum, and the Baltika Brewery. Additionally, CIEE staff arranges boat tours, a group cooking class in Russian cuisine, visits to the Russian bathhouse, and tickets to activities such as concerts, ballets, and sports events. Weekends are mostly free with the exception of overnight weekend field trips and possible Saturday excursions.

The program also offers three overnight field trips each semester and two in the summer. These trips include excursions to places of educational, cultural, and historic significance, while still allowing some time for students to explore the sites on their own. The trips are coordinated with the academic program, through preparation in class prior to the trip and through discussions of experiences and impressions upon return to St. Petersburg.

There is also an Independent Russian Travel Week each semester. Students are encouraged to visit areas outside of St. Petersburg on their own. Students travel independently and the cost of this travel is not included in the program fee. In past semesters students have camped on Lake Baikal, visited Vladivostok, taken in the sites of the Tatar Republic, and visited the shores of the Black Sea.


CIEE students have the opportunity to conduct English conversation lessons with students from St. Petersburg State University. In addition, students may take advantage of a range of volunteer projects. Past students have volunteered at after-school programs for children, local art galleries, and private libraries. CIEE staff organize an information fair each semester to introduce students to available opportunities with local businesses, agencies, and schools.

Sobesedniki--Peer Language Partners

CIEE students are paired with local students for a variety of language and cultural exchange activities. These students help provide CIEE participants with additional language support and a firsthand look at the lifestyle of their Russian peers.


Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2014 03/06/2014 
Varies by program 06/13/2014 07/26/2014
 NOTE: Important! Students should not purchase plane tickets based on these dates. Please check with your Study Abroad Professional regarding travel plans.
Academic Year 2014-2015 03/13/2014 
Varies by program TBA TBA
Fall 2014 03/13/2014 
Varies by program 09/05/2014 12/21/2014

** The time it takes to receive an admissions decision varies greatly by program; it can take as little as two weeks or as long as several months. Contact AU Abroad for further details on your program's admissions timeline.

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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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