CIEE St. Petersburg Fall 2017

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College Study Abroad

College Study Abroad

As decades change, tides shift, and even the country’s and the city’s names may as well become history, it remains true that for CIEE students, studying abroad in Saint Petersburg compares to living on an entirely different planet. Exquisite language intricacies, startling habits and behaviors of the locals, and fickle weather could scare anyone, but not the fearless CIEE students!

Active learning begins as soon as students step foot on the Russian land: throughout the three-day onsite orientation right at the beginning of the semester, we introduced the CIEE students to safety and health matters, academic requirements, cultural differences and homestay life etiquette. Topped with the comprehensive language assessment, extensive city tour around main Petersburg landmarks and sights, and city scavenger hunt, the first two weeks of the program were indeed eventful, equipping the students with the skills and knowledge essential for navigating life in their new home for the next four months.


We kicked off the fall 2017 semester with a grand celebration of CIEE’s 50 years in Saint Petersburg, former Leningrad. The four-day anniversary program engaged the alumni in activities ranging from high-profile opening reception, conferences, and panel discussions, to entertaining cultural activities: ‘Swan Lake’ ballet, Russian banya, Soviet musical hits dance party, and traditional Russian costume ball. One of the highlights of the weekend were the roundtable discussions hosted at the Saint Petersburg State University Philology Department, where the CIEE’s history in Soviet Union began in 1967. Students and alumni exchanged ideas on career pursuits and discussed the impact that the educational exchanges have had on mutual understanding between Russia and the U.S. The two generations’ experiences are very different but their passion for the Russian language and culture are very much alike.

Left: Sulamita Barbiyeru (U of Oregon) volunteers at the Opening Reception

Center: CIEE students volunteer at the Traditional Russian Costume Ball

Right: Roundtable discussions for CIEE alumni and students

Ben Shefner, U of Vermont (CIEE alum Summer 2017 & CIEE student Fall 2017):

“The anniversary celebration was a great opportunity to meet with people of all ages and careers, all bound by our common experience in Russia. I got the chance to chat and swap stories with alumnus from all walks of life- from those who never used their Russian skills after the program to various business people and former diplomats."

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