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Education Programs in Russia

Inexpensive Engagement with Russia’s Cultural Life

Studying in Russia is easy, cheap, and flexible. It’s also about the only way most travelers can afford to engage in the cultural life of Russia’s capitals: St. Petersburg and Moscow. The student discount for the world-famous Kirov or Bolshoi ballets can be as much as a week’s tuition: about $80. In St. Petersburg I go to the theater and museums nearly every day. Without a student ID, this would cost thousands of dollars a month.

You can choose one of the many U.S.-sponsored study-abroad programs such as American Councils (AC) and Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) or you enroll directly in a Russian-language program at a Russian university. Since most international programs contract out the teaching to a Russian university program, you have the same teachers and same classes either way. While I’ve done both and prefer direct enrollment, both have advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage of a planned program is that everything is planned. You will be with one group of students the whole time. The program will usually handle your plane tickets and visa application. You will have an orientation and arranged excursions. If you are a university student, the program will handle transfer of credit to your home institution.

Enrolling directly in a Russian university program is much cheaper. The CIEE 8-week summer program in St. Petersburg costs $4,500. The Center for Russian Language and Culture (CIEE’s subcontractor) charges $1,524 for classes and a homestay for the same period. If you enroll directly you can usually choose your program dates, which can be as short as two weeks, and your own study program. Finally, instead of all the students in your classes being American students on the same program as you, they may be of any age and from any country. I was once in a program in St. Petersburg with two Finnish students, a French student, two French adults, a German adult, and a British adult.

Aside from the difference in price and flexibility, it is hard to really experience cultural immersion as part of a big group of Americans. Either way, you are guaranteed an unforgettable experience.

Study Programs in Russia

There is no shortage of study programs. If you arrive in any reasonably-sized town you can probably get yourself into Russian classes within a week. The following list is only meant to provide a starting point.

Comprehensive Programs

Russian University Programs

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