Come experience the splendor that is St. Petersburg in summer. Spend eight weeks advancing your Russian language skills through an intensive and immersive academic and cultural study abroad program.
Whether you’re a intermediate or advanced level language student you’ll enjoy rigorous coursework and an enriching cultural program of lectures and local excursions in and around one of the world’s most culturally and historically rich cities. And with homestays, peer language partners, volunteer opportunities, and a variety of cultural activities and excursions, studying abroad in Russia offers you a uniquely immersive international experience.
Study abroad in Russia and you will:
- Experience the longest running study abroad program in Russia in spectacular St. Petersburg, where the entire downtown is a protected UNESCO heritage site
- Improve your Russian through intensive Russian language training for intermediate and advanced students
- Live in a homestay with a Russian family for cultural and linguistic immersion
- Explore Russian culture on excursions in and outside of the city, and participate in a rich program of extracurricular activities
Scholarships & Grants
Scholarships & Grants
We want as many students as possible to benefit from studying abroad. That’s why CIEE awards more than $3 million every year – more than any other international educational organization – to make study abroad affordable.
Applicants to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:
To be considered, simply check the “Scholarships and Grants” box on your program application.
The CIEE Difference
The CIEE Difference
Improve your grammar, phonetics, and conversational skills through advanced language study, while exploring Russian culture through close analysis of verbal and visual texts and a series of lectures on history, literature, art, and contemporary life.
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 offers two overnight field trips each summer to Moscow, Russia’s vibrant capital, and Novgorod, Russia’s oldest city. Both trips include excursions to places of educational, cultural, and historic significance, while still allowing time for you to explore the sites on your own.
Take part in the Sobesedniki (Peer Language Partner) program and you’ll be paired with local students for a variety of language and cultural exchange activities. These students provide you with additional language support and insight into the lifestyles of your Russian peers.
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
We want to make sure you get the most out of your experience when you study abroad with CIEE, which is why we offer the most inclusions in our fees.
The program fee includes:
- Tuition and housing
- Pre-departure advising and optional on-site airport meet and greet
- Full-time program leadership and support
- Field trips and cultural activities
- CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits
Please note, program dates are subject to change. Please contact your CIEE Study Abroad Advisor before purchasing airfare. Click the
button to view more detailed information about dates and fees as well as estimated additional costs. Please talk with your University Study Abroad Advisor about additional fees that may be charged by your home institution when participating in a program abroad.
Program Date Notes
Dates for this program are provided as tentative dates. Please consult with your study abroad advisor to confirm dates before purchasing your flights.
In addition to the items outlined below, the CIEE program fee includes an optional on-site airport meet and greet, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, field trips, pre-departure advising, and a CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits.
Participation Confirmation *
Educational Costs **
This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.
Students required to study on CIEE programs through a School of Record will be charged a $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.
** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students
*** includes two meals per day and three on weekends for homestay students; no meals are included for students in the hostel
Estimated Additional Costs
Meals not included in program fee *
International Airfare **
The estimated additional costs indicated are intended to assist students and parents in budgeting for those additional living and discretionary expenses not included in the program fee. Actual expenses will vary according to student interests and spending habits.
* for students staying in the hostel; students in homestays should budget $690 for weekday lunches
** round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure
- Overall GPA 2.75
- 4 semesters of college-level Russian or equivalent
- Due to the length of the Russian visa process, CIEE requires students to have a valid passport in order to be accepted. Russian immigration requires that this passport is valid for 18 months beyond the end date of the program.
The Russian language instruction, totalling 6 semester / 9 quarter credits, includes grammar, phonetics, conversation, and Russian culture. Additionally, students are required to enroll in two content courses taught in Russian.
Total recommended credit for the summer is 10 semester/15 quarter hours and the number of contact hours is 154.
Study abroad students are required to take the three required language courses (Russian Grammar, Phonetics, and Conversation) and the two required content courses.
About the City
About The City
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.
Meet The Staff
Meet The Staff
A native of Moscow, Irina Makoveeva received her master’s degree in Russian philology and comparative linguistics from the Moscow Lomonosov State University and her doctorate degree in Slavic and film studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Throughout her long academic career, she designed and taught courses on Russian literature, culture, cinema, and all levels of Russian language at such schools as Moscow State Mining University, the Moscow Lomonosov State University, Virginia Tech, the University of Pittsburgh, and Vanderbilt University. Her publications focus on the popular culture adaptations of literary canonical texts, Soviet and post-Soviet culture, and women’s cinema. In her current position as the Director of CIEE Study Centers in Russia, she strives to continuously expand the center’s course offerings and enrollment. In her free time Irina enjoys skiing, opera, films, and The New Yorker.
Though Dostoevsky’s novels are commonly associated with a dark and cold St. Petersburg, one must not forget that Crime and Punishment was set in the sweltering heat of the city’s white nights. People call it the Venice of the North, the Cultural Capital. The best time for St. Petersburg to prove its status as one of the most beautiful cities in the world is in the summer when it transforms into a city of innumerable rivers and canals, parks and gardens, tulips and lilac, white nights and drawbridges. St. Petersburg truly comes alive in summer: its canals are filled with pleasure boats and the Neva embankment is host to impromptu concerts and parties. The city’s numerous parks gush with flowing fountains and the sky remains a pale periwinkle from dusk till dawn. Here you will uncover the genius of Pushkin, spend time strolling along the Romanovs’ lanes, and fall in love with the city that will never let you go.
— Irina Makoveeva, Resident Director
Nika Afanasieva became CIEE’s employee in winter 2014, but her commitment to the work of the St. Petersburg Study Center has been growing since 2011, when she first started taking part in its various projects as a volunteer. At CIEE, in addition to her primary administrative functions for the St. Petersburg and Moscow Study Centers, she is involved in developing the Alternative Break volunteer project. Nika holds a degree in Linguistics and Intercultural Communication, and has experience in teaching English and administrative management. In 2012 she took an advanced course in Business English at the Malvern House in London. More than anything, Nika enjoys travelling, particularly backpacking. She is also trying to perfect her photography skills and can often be seen at CIEE’s events with her camera.
Svetlana Mantsvetova has hosted CIEE students since 2008. Starting September 2013, she took on the role of the center’s housing coordinator. Svetlana comes from a diverse academic background with degrees in both organic chemistry and language pedagogy. As housing coordinator she is responsible for homestay placement, student/family issues and conflict resolution. The years of experience working with young people and hosting American students enable her to successfully manage an important aspect of our students’ life in Russia. In her free time Svetlana enjoys reading fiction and going to theatre.
Liz McBean, an Ohio native, began her relationship with CIEE, during the spring semester of her junior year of college (Spring 2010), when she studied at CIEE’s Study Center in St. Petersburg, Russia. Upon graduating from Kenyon College with a BA in Modern Languages & Literature (Spanish & Russian), Liz spent some time teaching in South Korea, before making her way back to Russia, where she spent 10 months as a Fulbright ETA at Orenburg State University. After her time in Orenburg, she moved to Moscow to recruit Russian program participants for American Councils for International Education’s FLEX program, which gave her the unique experience of traveling all over Russia in a professional capacity. After attending a CIEE alumni networking event in Moscow, Liz found her way back to CIEE, where she is now a Student Service’s Assistant in the St. Petersburg Study Center. A former college field hockey player, in her spare time, Liz enjoys coaching and playing field hockey, as well as exploring the beautiful city of St. Petersburg and all it has to offer.
Katya Rubtsova joined CIEE as a student services assistant in 2009. A graduate of Tula Lev Tolstoy State Pedagogical University with a degree in teaching foreign languages, she primarily assisted CIEE students in their everyday endeavors. Over the course of her time at the study center, however, she has grown as an individual and a leader. In her current position as program coordinator she is responsible for visa support, course registration, hostel supervision, planning extra-curricular activities, etc. Katya has coordinated signature events at our center including the Smolny Spring Ball, Stilyagi and Leningradsky Rock. She participated twice in the CIEE Work and Travel USA program. In her free time, Katya enjoys the vibrant cultural life in St. Petersburg, as well as strolling with her friends in the city’s historical center.
Julia Semibratova joined CIEE in 2011. A local of St. Petersburg, she graduated from the St. Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts with a degree in Russian cultural history. She turned her enthusiasm for history into a successful career as a professional tour guide and since joining CIEE has continued to share this passion with our students. Julia organizes CIEE tours and excursions in and beyond St. Petersburg. She also oversees most of these excursions personally, leading Russian Area Studies groups and translating from Russian to English when necessary. Julia adores classical ballet, is keen on embroidering, enjoys horseback riding and collects owls.
Anton Stepanov graduated from the Faculty of Political Science at Saint Petersburg State University and joined the team in 2012. He studied modern British politics and took part in several intercollegiate model EU and UN events. For almost three years he was a CIEE volunteer and conversation partner for American students, which helped him to understand American culture better and prepared him for working at CIEE. In the CIEE Study Center he participates in such extra-curricular activities as excursions and field trips, sporting events, discussion club meetings, etc. Most importantly, he serves as a link between CIEE and Russian students. His free time is mostly devoted to philately and playing bass guitar in a rock band.
Ira Vasilyeva, Student Services Coordinator, joined CIEE in the summer of 2014. A graduate of Philology department of St. Petersburg State University, Ira is now pursuing her Master's degree in Legal Translation and Interpretation at the same university. In high school, Ira spent a year in the U.S. as an exchange student, and this experience later evolved into her interest and engagement in the field of international education. For the past 5 years Ira worked for American Councils for International Education as FLEX high school exchange program coordinator and as an academic advisor. In her previous position she was also responsible for cooperating with St. Petersburg CIEE study abroad center and for helping CIEE students in their volunteering endeavors. Ira's true passion is traveling and exploring new cultures. In her free time, Ira also enjoys reading, volunteering and teaching English and Spanish to young children.
Where You'll Study
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
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 double room with another CIEE participant. Students are responsible for all meals.
You'll begin your study abroad experience in St. Petersburg even before leaving home by participating in a CIEE online pre-departure orientation. Meeting with students online, the resident director shares information about the program and site, highlighting issues that alumni have said are important, and giving you time to ask questions. The online orientation allows you to connect with others in the group, reflect on what you want to get out of the program, and learn what others in the group would like to accomplish. CIEE’s aim for the pre-departure orientation is simple—to help you understand more about the program, and identify your objectives so that you arrive well-informed and return home having made significant progress towards your goals.
At the beginning of the program, you will participate in an intensive three-day introduction to Russian everyday culture and customs, health and safety issues, and the academic program. The orientation, held in a St. Petersburg hotel, is supported by Russian student assistants in order to facilitate your entry into your new culture. After the initial three-day orientation, you'll move to your homestay. For the remainder of the orientation, you'll take part in a variety of exercises, excursions, and meetings as you become familiar with your new home.
You are encouraged to bring a wireless-enabled laptop. Internet access in homestays is not guaranteed; however, limited, but free, wireless is available at the CIEE Study Center. Wireless Internet is also available through local cell phone providers, 4G Internet providers, and many Internet cafés throughout St. Petersburg. Additionally, there is a fee-for-service Internet classroom maintained by the University.
The academic program is supplemented with excursions, study tours, and field trips. 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, a walking tour of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and Pushkin’s Apartment Museum. Additionally, CIEE staff arranges boat tours, a group cooking class in Russian cuisine, visits to the Russian bathhouse, and tickets to soccer games. Weekends are mostly free with the exception of overnight weekend field trips and possible Saturday excursions.
The study abroad program offers two overnight field trips each summer to Moscow, Russia’s vibrant capital, and Novgorod, Russia’s oldest city. Both 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. Some group meals are included during these group excursions.
Sobesedniki—Peer Language Partners
If you choose to take part in the Sobesedniki program you'll be paired with local students for a variety of language and cultural exchange activities. These students will provide you with additional language support and give you a firsthand look at their lifestyle.
Film and Music
You can enjoy Russian cinema individually by checking out films from the Study Center DVD library or collectively in group screenings through the CIEE Film Club. The choir practice is included in the course on Russian culture.
In 2013, the CIEE Study Center marks its 46th year in St. Petersburg. CIEE began its close relationship with St. Petersburg State University when the Summer Russian Language Program began there in 1967.
The program includes seven weeks of language study at the School of Political Science, St. Petersburg State University. The curriculum includes courses in grammar, phonetics, conversation, and Russian culture. During the program, students visit places of historical and cultural significance in and around St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Novgorod.
Study abroad students attend classes five days a week with one afternoon reserved for cultural activities. Classes are 90 minutes in length.
All courses are taught in Russian and students are grouped by language level based on the results of a placement test. In-class participation often accounts for a large percentage of students’ grades as Russian teaching methodology emphasizes in-class learning.
Nature of Classes
CIEE participants take classes with CIEE students only.
CIEE Community Language Commitment
Students take part in the CIEE Community Language Commitment by speaking Russian at all times (except in emergencies). This fosters a learning community that contributes to both Russian language proficiency and understanding of Russian society.
Grades are assigned using the Russian grading scale of one to five, which are converted to U.S. letter grade equivalents. Plus and minus grades are also assigned. Grades are determined by a combination of in-class participation, short quizzes, written assignments, and exams.
Language of Instruction
All courses are taught by faculty from St. Petersburg State University.
Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
CIEE Study Center Syllabi
To view the most recent syllabi for courses taught by CIEE at our Study Centers, visit our syllabi site.
Required CIEE Language Courses
RUSI 3011 RLPU Russian Grammar Advanced I
RUSI 3012 RLPU Russian Grammar Advanced II
The purpose of this course is to activate students’ knowledge of modern Russian. This is accomplished through oral and written exercises in class and written homework assignments. Topics of study include verbs of motion, verbal aspect, reflexive verbs, impersonal and passive constructions, as well as word formation. . Recommended credit: 2 semester/3 quarter hours.
RUSI 3021 RLPU Russian Phonetics Advanced I
RUSI 3022 RLPU Russian Phonetics Advanced II
This course is a systematic exploration and analysis of the Russian sound system, including separate phonemes, sound combinations, and modifications in normal speech, as well as intonation patterns. Introductory discussions of pronunciation norms prepare the student for the practical reading exercises, which comprise the bulk of class work. Listening comprehension constitutes a part of this course. Recommended credit: 1 semester/ 1.5 quarter hours.
RUSI 3031 RLPU Russian Conversation Advanced I
RUSI 3032 RLPU Russian Conversation Advanced II
This course is designed to help students increase their active vocabulary, improve their control of idiomatic Russian, and develop all of the basic skills necessary for oral expression. Its focus is on initiating and maintaining conversation. Organized thematically, course discussions cover family life, student life, getting around the city, field trips, Russian culture, art, and current events. . Recommended credit: 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours.
Required CIEE Content Courses
AREA 3001 RLPU
Russian Culture: Lectures and Excursions
This weekly lecture series explores Russian history, literature, art, and contemporary Russian life. Topics include the role of Russian literature in 19th and 20th centuries, a survey of major 19th and 20th century Russian writers, Russian women writers, major events in Russian history, Russian art and architecture, contemporary Russian politics, economics, and emerging social problems. Lectures are complemented by weekly excursions in and around St. Petersburg. Contact hours: 15. Recommended credit: 1 semester/1.5 quarter hours.
RUSI 3002 RLPU
Discovering Russia: Film, Music, and Current Press
This course examines various aspects of Russian culture through a close analysis of its verbal and visual texts that represent Russian cinema, music, and mass media. While focusing on two or three Russian films, the students examine the films’ transcripts and vocabulary lists, which are later used in class discussions and written home assignments. A similar approach is employed in the work with the articles from Russian newspapers and journals. It allows the students to broaden their knowledge of the specific language of the current press and the socio-political problems of today’s Russia. The emphasis of the course’s musical component falls on various types of Russian song, the study (and performance) of which leads to a better understanding of Russian culture. Contact hours: 45. Recommended credit: 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours.