Summer Russian Area Studies in St Petersburg

Ratings
Overall
10
Academics: 10
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Housing: 10
Safety: 10
Review

The summer between my freshman and sophomore years, I studied abroad with CIEE in St Petersburg for four weeks and I absolutely loved it! Before going on the trip, CIEE helped to prepare me for my study abroad experience by providing everything from a comprehensive program handbook to detailed instructions on how to acquire a visa for my trip (which is a pretty tricky process when it comes to Russia). All of this was made available on their website, which was easy to navigate and to use. When I got to St Petersburg, CIEE staff were there with signs to pick me up at my arrival gate, and they accompanied me all the way to my host family's residence that day. My host family was kind and generous, and they were also really experienced with this sort of thing -- I was not the first student that they had hosted through CIEE, and they clearly knew what they were doing (which was a relief since everything about this experience was new to me). On my first full day in Russia, the CIEE Student Services Coordinator took us to their office in St Petersburg, and there we had a comprehensive orientation during which we discussed the program schedule and expectations along with cultural differences between the US and Russia, and then afterwards had a field trip around the city to acquire practical things like metro cards and Russian burner phones. For the rest of the trip, our small group went on many field trips together to really incredible sites, all with CIEE's english-speaking tour guide, who enriched our tours with interesting facts and personal stories. We also did really cool cultural excursions, like visiting a баня (banya -- basically, a Russian sauna) and taking a Russian cooking class. Throughout it all -- and despite the fact that I knew ZERO Russian going into this experience -- I never felt unsafe or overwhelmed because I knew that the CIEE staff in St Petersburg would be there to help me if I needed it. All in all, it was a once-in-a-lifetime sort of trip, and I am glad that I chose to take it with CIEE.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed
2017