St. Petersburg, Russia

Summer Russian Area Studies

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Warm weather and white nights make St. Petersburg extra special in summer. Come with little or no Russian language skills, take courses focused in Russian language, art, history, and literature, and return with new skills, fresh perspective, and memories to last a lifetime. Courses are taught in English at CIEE’s partner school, St. Petersburg State University, and complemented with co-curricular activities designed to increase intercultural understanding.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

CIEE is requiring all participants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling on programs. Read more ›

Unique experiences

  • Live in a 300-year-old city

    where traditional and modern forces converge

  • Increase your understanding

    of Russian history, culture, business, and politics - with your choice of courses taught in English

  • Study Russian language

    in a city so spectacular that its entire downtown is a UNESCO Heritage Site

  • million residents

  • bridges

  • sub-sites contribute to St. Petersburg’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site


Location & Culture

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Peter the Great’s vision of St. Petersburg as a “Window to the West” was captured by French and Italian architects with golden palaces, pastel-colored mansions, and landscaped parks, gardens, and canals. With World War II and Stalinist repression in its rearview mirror, St. Petersburg became the cultural capital and most westernized city of Russia - easy to navigate by foot and public transportation. The city’s many nicknames include: Paris of the East, City of the Tsars, City of Three Revolutions, and Venice of the North, but we’re quite sure you’ll call it fabulous.

CIEE wants all our students to feel welcomed, supported, and empowered to succeed while studying abroad. Local CIEE staff have provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter in St. Petersburg.

The Culture


  • Explore city highlights like the Hermitage, the Peter and Paul Fortress, and the Russian Museum, and take a walking tour based on Dostoevsky’s book, Crime and Punishment.
  • Enjoy the fascinating phenomenon called White Nights - stroll along the banks of Neva and the city’s numerous canals in almost broad daylight.
  • Attend a ballet, concert, or soccer game, and get a taste of Russian and Georgian cuisine with cooking classes.
  • Walk in the footsteps of famous writers in St. Petersburg, home to Russia’s most celebrated artists of the 20th century: Anna Akhmatova, Vladimir Nabokov, Joseph Brodsky, and Sergei Dovlatov.
  • Spend a day enjoying summertime open-air concerts, yoga and pilates classes, and film screenings at the New Holland, a man-made island previously used for ship-building.
  • Visit the biggest planetarium in the world: located in a building that housed natural gas used for lighting St. Petersburg streets more than a century ago. Planetarium №1 hosts interactive exhibits, educational classes, and classical music concerts.
  • Travel overnight to see Russian life outside of St. Petersburg.
  • Get to know Russian peers during day-trips, sports events, cinema club meetings, pub quiz trivia nights, and more.


Volunteering: Students can give back to the community through various volunteer projects with local organizations.

Engagement with locals: CIEE organizes weekly events with Russian peers such as Scavenger Hunts, Game Nights, trips to museums, and much more! CIEE Russian Buddies are an endless source of support: always ready to assist in facilitating the integration of CIEE students into life in St. Petersburg.

Daily Life

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    Homestays: Live with a Russian-speaking family and immerse yourself in the local language and culture. Each student has his/her own room in the family’s private apartment.

    Hostels: A limited number of twin rooms are available at a downtown hostel, 20 minutes by bus to CIEE Smolny campus, and 5 minutes on foot to Nevsky Prospekt.


    Homestays: Homestay families provide breakfast and dinner on weekdays, and three meals on weekends.

    Hostels: Students are responsible for all meals.

  • Getting Around

    Students walk or use public transportation to get from their lodgings to class.

St. Petersburg, Russia

Where You'll Study

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    Conveniently located at St. Petersburg State University.

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    CIEE students use the Smolny campus on the east side of downtown St. Petersburg.

What People are Saying

  • "The program is really organized, the excursions are insightful and knowledgeable. The staff of polite and professional, CIEE is a great program for study abroad."

    Tyler G., Howard University
  • "The program was well structured with lots of opportunities for engagement"

    Abigail H., Macalester College


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CIEE has a long tradition of study in Russia – our first program began in partnership with St. Petersburg State University in 1967. With this summer program, students choose one, two, or three four-week sessions with CIEE at the School of Political Science of St. Petersburg State University. No Russian language experience is required, and course offerings typically includes Russian culture, business, politics, history, and Russian language.

St. Petersburg State University. Founded in the 18th century, the campus has expanded from its original site on the Neva River to include more than 400 buildings around the city center and beyond. CIEE students attend class at the stunning Smolny campus, in a quiet neighborhood on the east side of downtown St. Petersburg.

All courses are taught by faculty from St. Petersburg State University School of Political Science or other Russian universities.



Language Prerequisites

There are no specific language requirements for this program.

Additional Requirements

A valid passport at time of application. Russian immigration requires that passports are valid for 18 months beyond the program end-date to acquire a student visa.


Current Russian passport holders and U.S. passport holders adopted from, or born in, Russia are required to travel on Russian passports. If this applies to you, please contact your nearest Russian consulate to clarify your citizenship status and contact CIEE with questions.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Program Requirements

1 CIEE content course

Program Credit

Total credit: 3-4 U.S. semester/4.5-6 quarter credits

Course Credit

CIEE content course: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours
CIEE Communicative Russian: 1 U.S. semester/1.5 quarter credits; 15 contact hours

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Academic Culture

Russian teaching emphasizes in-class learning. Participation is important; attendance is mandatory.

Class Format

Students attend classes three days a week and participate in cultural activities, extracurricular excursions, and class field trips two days a week. Classes are 90 minutes in length. All area studies courses are taught in English. Participants take classes only with other CIEE study abroad students.


Instructors use the U.S. grading scale of A-F. Grades are determined by results on short quizzes, written assignments, and exams.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Language of Instruction

English and Russian

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.


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Course Information

Course Notes
Students studying with CIEE for multiple sessions may only take Communicative Russian once.
“(GI)” denotes courses that originated at CIEE’s Global Institutes and that are offered at multiple Global Institutes and CIEE Centers.

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.
"(GI)" denotes courses that originated at CIEE's Global Institutes and that are offered at multiple CIEE sites.


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Scholarships & Grants

CIEE offers scholarships and grants annually to help students like you make your study abroad dream a reality.

Students who apply to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Wollitzer Merit Scholarships in Area or Comparative Studies
  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant
  • Anniversary Scholarship
  • CIEE Stem Scholarship

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.

See more scholarship info

Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees

You get more for every dollar when you study abroad with CIEE, because our high-quality programs include everything from excursions to insurance. There are no hidden charges and no disappointing surprises when you arrive.

What's Included

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What's Included

Pre-departure Advising
Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions
Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet
Introduction to your program plus practical information about living in your host city
On-site Staff
Full-time program leadership and support in your city
Cultural and/or Co-curricular Activities
Excursions and/or Study Tours
Travel Protection
CIEE iNext and a local liability insurance
24/7 emergency on-site support

Our Staff

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Get Started

Here's what you need to do to take the next steps:
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    You're one step closer to an amazing study abroad experience!

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    Share your plans and confirm you're on track to meet all required steps to go abroad. 


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    Contact Us

    Send us an email if you still have questions or need information about applying to this program.