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CIEE: St. Petersburg, Russia (Russian Area Studies Program) (Third Party)

The Program

The Russian Area Studies program is designed for students who have an interest in Russia. The program can accommodate different levels of language proficiency, especially beginning and intermediate Russian language students.

After Peter the Great returned from Western Europe in 1703, he imported architects from France and Italy and built his “Window to the West.” By the 19th century, St. Petersburg was a showy testimony to czarist opulence with palaces, glittering mansions, landscaped parks and gardens, beautifully planned canals, and vibrant colors.

But a century of revolution, bombardment, and totalitarian rule have taken their toll. Having endured famine and forced collectivization, the horrors of Stalinist repression, and the city`s near total devastation in World War II, the people now cope with an emerging new political and economic reality where much remains uncertain. It is both an exhilarating and confusing time.

Known as Leningrad from 1924 to 1991, the city of five million is easily navigated by bus, trolley, and an efficient metro system. The days of chronic shortages are over, and though few Russians have money to buy luxuries, staples are easily accessible. St. Petersburg is often called Russia`s cultural capital, and 2003 marked the city`s 300th anniversary. Some of the finest collections of art in the world are housed in the former palaces. Music, dance, and theater are cherished pastimes affordable to all.

The Academics

The Russian Area Studies Program (RASP) is intended for students who are interested in an academic program in Russia, taught in English. The program can accommodate students who have less than two years of Russian language preparation. More advanced language students may take language courses through the CIEE Russian Language Program while still taking area studies courses in English. Students with more language proficiency take classes at their level with other CIEE Study Center students. The program offers a set of courses, taught in English, on Russian history, politics, culture, and current events as well as a rigorous language program.

Classroom attendance and participation are essential. Russian teachers take attendance and participation quite personally. Though homework assignments are given, they serve to reinforce what is discussed in class. Nearly all academic material is presented in class, and the 90-minute periods (called “para”) provide plenty of time for a range of learning activities. A more traditional attitude toward behavior in the classroom means no wearing of baseball caps, no eating or drinking in class, and no feet on the furniture. CIEE teachers have years of experience with American students, but sometimes they may express their feelings more frankly than Americans expect. Taking advantage of living in Russia by participating in outside activities (including, for most students, a homestay) will certainly enhance your academic success.

In order to earn credit at UConn for courses completed on this program, individual courses must be approved by a designated UConn course evaluator and assigned a UConn course number. Complete instructions for this process can be found under Academics.

This list of course equivalents indicates courses that other students have taken in the past. It does not guarantee that they will be available when you participate in the program. If you want to take a course that is not on the list below click on “Academics” to access information on the course accreditation process.General Education course substitution: your school or college will decide if specific study abroad courses can be used to fulfill General Education Requirements. You will need to individually petition your school for the substitution.  For exact information, go to “Academics” and “Gen Ed Substitution”.Note: All study abroad courses have to be assigned a UConn course department number by faculty departmental evaluators before they can be posted and later considered for any minor, major, gen ed, or elective credit.

UConn Dept. and # University Course Title Foreign # Foreign Course Credits Accreditation Expiration Date
ANTH 3093 Foreign Study RAST 3002 Ethnic Studies: National and Ethnic Issues in Modern Russia 3 12/31/2021
HIST 3993 Foreign Study HIST 3001 RASP Russian History: Rise & Progress, Tragedies & Revolutions 3 12/31/2019
POLS 3228 Politics of Russia and the Former Soviet Union POLI 3003 Contemporary Russian Politics and Governance 3 6/30/2022
POLS 3993 Foreign Study POLI 3002 RASP Presidential Elections in Russia and Challenges of Democratic Transition 3 12/31/2018
RUSS 1193 Foreign Study RUSI 1003 RASP Elementary Russian Conversation I 4 12/31/2019
RUSS 1193 Foreign Study RUSI 1005 RASP Elementary Russian Grammar I 4 12/31/2019
Soci 3993 Foreign Study RAST 3002 Ethnic Studies: National and Ethnic Issues in Modern Russia 3 12/31/2021

The Experience

All study abroad students have the option to live in Russian homestays. Participants have their own room in a Russian family’s 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 20-minute bus to the CIEE Study Center. Students are placed in single-occupancy rooms.

The program generally offers two or three overnight field trips each semester, one of which includes Moscow. They include visits to places of educational, cultural, and historic significance, while allowing some free time for students to explore on their own. The trips are coordinated with the academic program. Previous groups have traveled to Novgorod, Pskov, Tallin, and Valaam, and enjoyed a celebration (usually in conjunction with Thanksgiving or Easter) at the Stationmaster’s House in the village of Vyra, complete with a Russian banquet and a visit to the Russian baths.

CIEE students are offered the opportunity to teach English at St. Petersburg State University. In addition, students may take advantage of a range of volunteer projects and non-credit internships, such as after-school programs for children, local art galleries, and private libraries. A limited number of for-credit internships are available for students with appropriate language proficiency.


Please note that certain fees associated with this program will appear on your UConn fee bill. These fees are required in addition to the costs billed to you directly by the third party program provider. For exact information on these additional costs, please visit this program’s budget sheet by clicking the link below.

This program charges program fees and not tuition. This affects the types of financial aid that can be applied to defray the cost. Contact the UConn Office of Financial Aid Services for information regarding your individual financial aid package.

You may apply the following types of financial aid to the cost of this program: CT Aid for Public College Students Grant, Federal Title IV Funds including Pell Grant, SEOG, Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Parent Loans, and private scholarships.

You may not apply the following types of financial aid to the cost of this program: Federal Work Study, Tuition Remission Grant, University Grant, Tuition Waiver, and academic scholarships (such as Day of Pride, Nutmeg, Presidential, Leadership and Academic Excellence Scholarship).

Budget Sheets: Academic Year, Fall, Spring
The Details

  • Location: St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
  • Terms: Academic Year, Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit

Dates / Deadlines:

Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Academic Year 2018 03/08/2018 03/15/2018 TBD TBD
Fall 2018 03/08/2018 03/15/2018 TBD TBD
Spring 2019 10/01/2018 10/08/2018 TBD TBD

Fact Sheet:

Class status: 2nd Year, 3rd Year, 4th+ Year Academic area: Social Sciences, Humanities
Language of instruction: English Prior language study required: None
Open to non-UConn students: No Required GPA: 2.5