Most Memorable Semester

Instruction: 4
Support: 5
Fun: 4
Housing: 4
Value: 4

I studied abroad with RLASP in Moscow during the Spring 2020 Semester (so right during the time when covid took over). Before covid really hit, I definitely enjoyed all aspects of the program. Mind you, I was pretty much a beginner in Russian prior to leaving and I felt anxious about the academic workload. Most of my peers had over 3-4 semesters of Russian under their belt, so I definitely felt self-conscious about my ability to truly succeed. However, you take a placement test when you arrive and the professors split you up into groups and completely tailor the curriculum according to your needs. I could barely say anything beyond planned phrases prior to leaving the US but left having conversations about Russian poetry and film. Most professors are very patient and push you to do well and speak. The classes themselves are super interesting and, in my group, we more or less directed the conversation. If we wanted to talk about climate change or American politics one day in our Russian Internet class, we did just that. We also had weekly excursions to different museums and landmarks that were held in Russian. The difficulty varied depending on the excursion.

I have no real complaints about housing. My hosts were in their 70s-80s and pretty much kept to themselves most of the time, which was fine with me. However, if you want more "active" hosts, put that in your housing form. And be prepared to travel for at least an hour to get to school. I had to do a lot of walking and train transfers, but it was doable (albeit tiring). Try looking at all possible routes you could take before you start school. I only realized midway into the semester that one bus would take me all the way there (and it was only 3 minutes from my house).

When covid hit, we all had to go back to the US and so we continued with an online format. While it took us about a week or two to work out the kinks, I ended getting a lot of out the online format, if not more, since my concentration was completely focused on lecture and I didn't have the opportunity to really drift off. While programs may be online for the next foreseeable semesters, don't worry about not progressing in your language abilities. In some ways, you might benefit more from an online format than you would originally think.

The American Councils staff and Resident Director are incredibly resourceful and are there to help, while also allowing you that independence. They won't hold your hand throughout the process since living in Russia can be a learning curve, but they will help you along the way when you need it.

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