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Learn Russian in the European Union


“Learn Russian in the European Union” offers a Russian language immersion program in the European Union and personalized for-credit academic study abroad programs for undergraduate students.

AY/semester study abroad programs include two components:
- Core Course: Intensive Russian as a Foreign Language (interactive communication skills, grammar, phonetics) geared towards different target proficiency levels.
- Elective courses, depending on selected program: Russian Literature and Culture, East European Studies, Baltic Studies, History, Physics, Biology, Mathematics, Environmental Sciences, and others.



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Yes, I recommend this program

I spent the September-December 2020 semester with this program learning Russian as part of my gap year. I wanted to be immersed in a Russian-speaking environment, learning about the language, the culture, and meeting new people. Despite being the only student in my classes due to COVID, I still got out of this program everything and more than I was expecting. My host family, a mom and 7-year-old son, were very kind and helpful for my Russian. I probably talked with them for almost two hours every day. We ate meals together, and I tried multiple new foods every week. The host family made me feel very comfortable and at home.
I was able to choose three science classes in topics that interested me (Programming, Biochem, Econ), and these classes were very interesting and introduced me to topics which I might want to study in uni. The teachers were very knowledgeable and spoke with me in Russian, allowing me to practice vocabulary in hard subjects like these. The Russian classes were also very interesting, and I got a lot out of them. The teachers could answer any question I asked completely and clearly, and our classes often went into the format of a conversation, giving me a lot of time to practice speaking Russian. When I started this program, I struggled to have basic conversations, but after just three months, I was able to have hour-long conversations with relative ease.
In years without COVID, there are usually lots of excursions with the program. Although there weren't any with the program during my semester, I was still able to travel around Latvia, with a British student doing an internship in Daugavpils, and I was able to see Riga three times, Sigulda, and Liepaja, all very pretty places. I would recommend these trips to anyone traveling to Latvia. COVID didn't really affect my experience until the last couple of weeks of my stay when it got worse.
I would 100% recommend this program to anyone wanting to learn Russian. The classes, people, host family, sightseeing, and being constantly surrounded by Russian made this experience one of the most productive and fulfilling 3 months of my life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice would be to take advantage of it. It's a great program, and if you are engaged with it and try to improve your Russian, you will. I would also say go on lots of walks to explore the city and the surrounding areas, as there are a lot of pretty forests and interesting things to see.
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Yes, I recommend this program

This study abroad program exceeded all expectations I had for it, and words cannot describe how much I learned from and enjoyed my time living in Daugavpils. I took half of my classes on the Russian language and the other half on a mix of political science and history topics. The professors were all extraordinarily knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and eager to teach me. There were an enormous range of courses to choose from, which allowed me to design my program specifically to fit my personal goals. The living situation was ideal for learning Russian. I had an amazing host mom and brother, who made me feel at home from day one. My host mom was incredibly kind and caring, cooked delicious meals, and was always there to help me out or give me advice. Almost every day after dinner, we would sit, drink tea, and chat for about an hour - which was almost as valuable as my formal classes for getting me comfortable conversing in Russian. And if I finished my homework for the night, my host brother would always be eager to play hide and seek, watch a cartoon, or show me his enormous collection of toys and gadgets.

The excursions were also an incredibly valuable part of this program. We traveled all over the Baltics and even to Minsk, Belarus, learning about and experiencing each countries history and culture. The location of Daugavpils was also ideal for traveling on the weekends. Cheap buses and trains left straight for Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw, and other major cities. But it was often tempting to just stay in Daugavpils and organize a trip to our private banya (we must have gone 12 times in the fall semester), volunteer to take dogs for walks at the animal shelter, or just гулять with friends around the city.

I have no complaints about this program and would recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their Russian and have a blast while doing so

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take advantage of all the opportunities available to you. Especially at the beginning of the program it can be daunting and tiring to have to constantly use Russian. It's tempting when you don't have classes to retreat to your room, watch netflix etc. But you will get the most value out of this program by exploring the city, meeting locals, and traveling.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I want to start by saying this program went above and beyond my expectations in every way! The program was well balanced providing both an excellent academic experience along with a profound and highly informative cultural immersion aspect.

When I was looking at studying abroad, my primary goal was to increase my proficiency in Russian. After a semester, I can say with absolute certainty that this is one of the best programs available for those who are looking to increase their language proficiency. The program is located in Daugavpils (a Russian speaking city in eastern Latvia) which makes it an ideal location for Russian studies. The academic aspect of the program is structured well with a mixture of both core Russian language classes and a wide selection of elective courses tailored to each student’s criteria. This is made possible by the excellent teachers and the fact that the classes are very small (usually 2-6 students per class). My language courses included classes on Russian syntax, a class on conversational Russian, and a class on communication and discussion of topics such as International relations and political science. My electives were all taught in Russian and included classes on the EU, Nuclear Policy, and Russian-NATO-Baltic security. In addition, each student has the chance to live with a host family which, for me, was really a crucial part of increasing my language proficiency and in acquiring a much deeper understanding of the culture and history of this region. My host family and particularly my host mother is one of the most gracious, genuine, and kind people I have ever met.

My second goal when I was looking for a program, was to study in a post-Soviet republic outside of Russia (since I had already spent a summer studying in Moscow.) I chose this program because I hoped that I would be able to experience the diverse culture of both Latvia and the larger northeastern European region. I am very happy to say that this program gave me that unique perspective. I want to emphasize this unique aspect because I think it is really important. I know most students think of learning Russian in Russia but this program gives you a unique perspective of understanding the cultures of several post-Soviet republics, particularly Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, which are all nations heavily influenced by their historical and cultural connections to Russia. This also gives you a first-hand perspective into understanding the complex nature that these post-Soviet countries find themselves in and their struggles with finding an identity. You explore all of this both in your classes and host family life but also through excursions, which are highly informative and diverse in both theme and location. I loved the opportunity to travel to Belarus! I also want to emphasize that our excursion guide and organizer, Jānis, is phenomenal! He has a deep knowledge of each location's historical and cultural relevance and I can speak for everyone on the program when I say that he makes every excursion even more fun and interesting. Not only that but he is always there to help and can assist you in organizing additional travel by giving recommendations or even personally driving you there!

Additionally, the entire program is run by highly capable and helpful management that is always there to help make sure your experience is the best it can be. Unlike many other study-abroad programs, Learn Russian in the EU was very helpful right from the start. The program head, Sergey Simonov helped me with logistics early on, long before I had arrived in Latvia. Secondly, this program is by far one of the most affordable. Compared to programs in Moscow or Saint-Petersburg, this program is half the price, and even cheaper when you consider the extra costs of living in expensive cities like Saint-Petersburg or Moscow. In addition, this program benefits from the fact that it is inside the EU. This makes traveling around Europe easy.

From past experience in other study-abroad programs, I can say that this program is by far the best of those I have partaken in and especially for those who want to master Russian.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Remember that Latvia is in the EU which means that travel around Europe is extremely easy!


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