The Middlebury College School in Russia offers three sites from which to choose, each in a different part of the country, each offering a different view of Russian life. This immense country is undergoing unprecedented economic and political transformations. Geographically, the Russian Federation stretches nearly halfway around the globe, spanning 11 time zones and many different climates. The population includes over 80 ethnic groups. Program staff are located at each of the three sites: Irkutsk, Moscow and Yaroslavl.
Irkutsk, known as the Pearl of Siberia, is a cultural center with a rich history and spectacular natural attributes (including the sunniest winters in Russia). The history of the city is closely tied to nearby Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest and largest fresh-water lake. Full of quirky cafes, ethnic restaurants and classical theaters, this city of 500,000 boasts a diverse population that blends lifestyles and traditions from European Russia and numerous indigenous nomadic peoples.
Moscow, with its rich history and omnipresent government, is the center of Russian cultural and political life. Moscow offers all the excitement of a cosmopolitan city, and it has benefited from more foreign investment than any other region of Russia. Indeed, over 100,000 foreign businesspeople and students now call Moscow home, bringing with them a Western lifestyle that stylish Muscovites have embraced. Studying in the city, with its nine million residents, may be different from the typical “Russian” experience students might anticipate, but it will give students more insight into life in modern Russia. Strong language skills will help make an easier transition into the lifestyle of this fast-paced capital.
Yaroslavl is a symbol of Russia’s ancient past. Almost 1,000 years old, its center has the unmistakable aura of tradition, and its kremlin walls give this city of 650,000 the feel of a small town. Spectacular onion-domed churches are at the end of seemingly every street. A trading center for most of its history, Yaroslavl has a proud artistic heritage. Russia’s first professional theater was founded here, a tradition continuing to this day on Yaroslavl’s stages. The city is also home to a strong icon school and museum. But Yaroslavl also has a vibrant social life, and its sizable student population lends the city a youthful, energetic feel that blends well with its traditional customs.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges have been an affiliate member of the Middlebury College School in Russia program since 2001. All Middlebury program sites emphasize language skills and an understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Russia and the former Soviet Union. All instruction takes places in Russian. Each of the program sites focuses on different aspects of Russian Area Studies and Russian culture and society.
Students will take a full semester academic course load with a focus on Russian language, culture and society. For a detailed list of course offerings, go to the Middlebury Russia webpage.
Irkutsk (Irkutsk State University - IGU): In addition to language courses, students may take courses in biology, geography, and geology that focus on Lake Baikal; philology courses in Buryat and Mongolian; and history classes on Russo-Chinese and Russo-Mongolian relations.
Moscow (The Russian State University for the Humanities - RGGU): The program in Moscow offers a full range of courses in the liberal arts to complement language instruction.
Yaroslavl (Yaroslavl State Pedagogical University—YGPU): Students will take courses offered through the International Department, focusing on Russian language and literature, history, and politics.
This program is suited for students with a major or minor in Russian Area Studies or those who desire to improve their Russian language skills. The particular focus of each site will vary somewhat depending on the expertise of the faculty at the respective affiliate universities.
This program is open to all sophomores, juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. In addition, applicants must have completed two years of college-level Russian or the equivalent with a GPA of 3.0. Three years of college-level Russian study are recommended, especially for those choosing Moscow. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened. (Please note: due to the timing of the academic calendar on the Russia program, seniors participating in the spring semester will not be able to return in time for commencement on the HWS campus.)
Students live with a Russian host family, an experience that will provide unique insight into Russian family life. The homestay will serve to enhance the student’s linguistic skills and to facilitate immersion in the local culture.
All students will participate in a two-day orientation program in Moscow that will include a variety of cultural activities and local tours. In each site, visits to areas of local and regional interest will be organized, and excursions to other regions of the country may be offered.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees and a $550 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-course semester, excursions and health insurance. Note that no room or board charge is included. Students should bring their room and board fees with them so they can pay accommodation and meal costs directly to the provider. (Room and board fees are estimated at $5000 for Yaroslavl and Irkutsk and $6500 for Moscow). Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, visa and other course-related materials, immunizations and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at approximately $1100-$1300 from the East Coast, visa at $500 and books and course materials at $200 and immunizations at $100. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1300 above and beyond accommodation and meal expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.
NOTE: This information is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information