Study Abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia: Semester or Academic Year

Video and Photos

Taken on the grounds of Catherine's Palace
Church of the Savior on Spilt Blood on our second day in St. Petersburg
AIFS St. Petersburg, Russia
AIFS St. Petersburg, Russia
AIFS St. Petersburg, Russia
AIFS St. Petersburg, Russia


Spend a semester or academic year in St. Petersburg with AIFS. Earn up to 18 credits studying at Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. Courses are taught in English or Russian. No previous Russian language study is required.

The Russian Language and Liberal Arts Program focuses on enhancing your skills in the Russian language while taking elective courses in English. Volunteer opportunities are also available to support a variety of interests.

Live in a homestay or a student residence hall. During the first month, all students live in the residence hall.

Enjoy cultural and social activities such as:
• City tours
• Visits to museums and cultural sites
• Boat trip along the canals
• Classical music, opera and ballet performances
• 3-day trip to Moscow
• Day trips to Catherine Palace, Peterhof, Veliky Novgorod and Pavlosk.
An optional 4-day excursion Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia is offered.

  • Earn up to 18 credits and transcript issued by Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University
  • 3-day trip to Moscow
  • Siege of Leningrad tour
  • No previous Russian language study required
  • Day trips to Catherine Palace at Pushkin, Peterhof, Veliky Novgorod and Pavlovsk


AIFS Study Abroad Scholarships
AIFS Study Abroad Scholarships, Grants & Financial Support

We believe a study abroad experience is an essential component of well-rounded university education and we are committed to providing financial assistance to as many students as possible in support of their goal to study abroad.

$500 - $5,000

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Questions & Answers

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based on 12 reviews
  • Academics 7.8
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 8.7
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 8.9
Showing 1 - 12 of 12
Yes, I recommend this program

AIFS Made My Semester in St. Petersburg Unforgettable

I've always known that I wanted to study abroad in Russia while in college. Choosing to go to St. Petersburg with AIFS was hands down the best decision I could've made! I got to live in a beautiful city with a rich history, took some extremely interesting courses, and had incredible on-site support. I strongly feel like I would not have enjoyed my semester as much as I had if I hadn't gone with AIFS. The cultural immersion activities that were organized by the incredible AIFS staff were fantastic and allowed me to see some great areas of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Tallinn, and Helsinki! Not to forget that all of the excursions were included!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unique thing I ate was at actually at a museum (with a restaurant) where I ate frozen raw Siberian fish covered in salt and served with bone marrow on rye bread! I didn't expect to like it, but LOVED it!
Yes, I recommend this program

With Love from Kentucky to Russia

AIFS was one of the best fit programs for me. I appreciated the fact that they were all inclusive and I had a lot of worry taken off of my shoulders since I did not have to book my flight or find housing. The professors at Polytechnic University in St. Petersburg were very encouraging. I did however only have experience with two professors and my classes were mainly with other Americans. This made sense because Russians aren’t usually taking Russian History and Russian Language classes. I hope that the Russian language professors continue to be there for years to come. My professor was very encouraging and even told us on the first day of class that we would be speaking Russian better than her after only a semester of study. Although, I knew this was not true, it started me off on a positive foot with such a difficult language. The option to stay with a host family was definitely a perk that made the program more appealing. I chose to stay with a host family. I was the only student that got the experience to stay with a host family that had children. I look back on that experience as something that made my stay all the more unique. I now have a much better representation of Russian everyday life. I am very thankful for the in country program advisers that were always there to support my stay in St. Petersburg.

What would you improve about this program?
I would love to have more classes with Russians.
Yes, I recommend this program

Russia Stole My Heart

I honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into when I decided to go study in Russia for 4 months my junior year of college. I knew it would be cold (duh). But I was not prepared for the most unforgettable experience of my life that changed the way I viewed the world and this wonderful country that I have fallen so in love with. I made some of the best friends I could ever have, met so many interesting people that enriched my experience in ways I never thought they could, and saw landmarks and cities I had only seen in pictures. Russia is mysterious, quirky, and so incredibly unique that it is impossible to describe it in just a few sentences. The only way to truly experience Russia's amazing language, culture, people and breathtaking sights is to go there and see it for yourself. AIFS provided me with a great study abroad experience that has affirmed my aspirations to get involved with Russian-US foreign policy after I graduate from college and sparked my love for Russian language. I encourage anyone who is thinking about this program to jump on the opportunity, get excited, and prepare yourself for the ride of your life. Russia will leave you breathless, amazed, and eager to see more. I never wanted to leave and I plan on going back as soon as I can!

What would you improve about this program?
I think that the elective courses could be slightly more challenging. The language class was amazing and the professors are so helpful and want you to succeed and learn as much as possible in the time that you are there. But the elective classes were lacking in that they weren't challenging in comparison to my classes at my home university.
Read my full story
Yes, I recommend this program

You have Courage !

You have courage to go to a country without knowing the language!I speak English and Spanish but not Russian, but once I got there it was easy to learn! Living in a country really makes a difference when going to a country. I was in the beginner's class for Russian Language and the teacher was kind and patient! AIFS also helped us by partnering us up with Russian students. They were our conversational partner. We will teach them English and they will teach us Russian! It was a great way to learn the language and immerse yourself to the culture. The elective classes were also great. Our Professor was actually a funny man. He spoke in English, but wrote all his notes on the board in Russian! He said,"I really want you to learn the language so this will hep you".
When it came to fun activities, there were many. Nevsky Prospekt was the place to be! There were plenty of museums, cafes,bars, and clubs to enjoy. It doesn't matter what you're into, that street had it all!
I really enjoyed going on this program because we had excursions and we learned the history of St. Petersburg. We also traveled to Moscow, Finalnd, and Estonia! I met so many people from the states and people from different countries. I still keep in contact with them until this day. If you want to go to St. Petersburg, I suggest you do! You will learn so much, grow as a person, be grateful and humble, and have long life friendships!

What would you improve about this program?
I wouldn't necessarily change anything, but I would love to see more activities!
Yes, I recommend this program

Blaze your own trail

When most people go abroad, they go to boring, 'safe' places such as Pairs or Rome. I chose to go somewhere different and exotic, but not exotic in the sense of palm trees and coconuts. Think more smokestacks and less smiles. The AIFS St. Petersburg program was an amazing 4 month experience in a part of the world that is not frequently traveled. The staff was fantastic; any problem I had was usually solved pretty quickly. The weekly excursions were all educational, informative and most importantly fun. As far as classes, the language instructors are masters at teaching an incredibly tough language. I went to Russia knowing only a handful of words and by the time I left, I was confident enough to hold a conversation. The elective professors were also fun and knowledgeable. If you are reading this, at least give this program a thought! You'll be glad you did.

What would you improve about this program?
More excursions!
Yes, I recommend this program

An Unforgettable Junior Semester!

AIFS' St. Petersburg program was a language intensive program, which I really liked. Before I came into Russia, I did not know a shred of Russian but when I was paired with my host mom, who pushed for me to buy an English-Russian Dictionary and sat with me every night as we drank tea and spoke in Russian, it was the best experience of my life! I remember the first time we have a lengthy conversation - it was about 4 hours - but of course my Russian was not grammatically correct, but she encouraged me to speak and corrected my mistakes. The staff were very helpful, especially when I needed to go to the doctor. They even went out of their way to help set us up with volunteer opportunities and conversation partners to enhance our Russian. The teachers were also great. The classes were taught in English, besides our Russian class. Learning from a different point of view is definitely something that helped expand my point of view.

What would you improve about this program?
I don't think that I would change anything with this program. My experience was great and I would definitely not change anything that happened!
Yes, I recommend this program

Mother Russia

Was one of the greatest experiences that I had in my life. In St. Petersburg, one can walk down Nevskiy Prospekt and see the Church on Spilt Blood, Kazan Cathedral, the Winter Palace, and Dom Kniga all at the same time! It is one magnificent sight! The Metro stations are the most beautiful in all of the world. Get to go see Peter the Great lying in his tomb, as well as, his wonderful Palace, the Peterhof. For beginners in Russian, like I was at the time, is very intimidating. All I knew was Da, Nyet, Spasibo, Vodka, but all you have to do is try to speak it and the Russians will be very happy. My teachers were the greatest and most helpful. Breakfast was good! Hard boiled eggs, porridge, cereal, salami, cheese, and more. Everyone was nice. Even befriended someone from Kazakhstan and talked to someone from Vietnam, while doing laundry. I recommend anyone to go on this program. It is well organized and is well worth it. Russia is a great country with many mysteries!

Yes, I recommend this program

A Summer Unlike Any Other

As I always tell people when they come to me with questions of studying abroad, it was the best decision I've made in college.

I went on the summer program to St. Petersburg after my freshman year of college. Having never taken Russian before I was placed in the beginners class with 5 other students and we had a wonderful teacher who was very patient. I also took the History of Saint Petersburg which included some extra excursions like a tour of Smolny Institute.

The cultural excursions were the best part. I had been dreaming of seeing the Hermitage and the Church on Spilled Blood. My favorite place to visit ended up being Peter and Paul Fortress where my new friends and I would sit with our feet in the Neva.

I can't say enough good things about the AIF St. Petersburg program. St. Petersburg is so rich in history and culture. After my program I was surprised how useful my knowledge of St. Petersburg and Russia was. With Russia constantly staying in the headlines of foreign policy and politics it's worth getting a closer look at this country.

Yes, I recommend this program

If Only I Went for a Whole Semester...

On my first day of college, I told myself I would study abroad in Russia. I went the summer before I graduated earning my last credits towards my B.A. I didn't know any Russian before going, other than the formal hello/good bye. But with AIFS and the St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, my 5-week excursion helped me develop some great language skills! The courses were interesting and incorporated frequent trips to cultural sites, a welcomed bonus to the many trips provided under the AIFS program. Each day we had tons of opportunities to speak Russian with our fellow classmates and native Russians. In the short summer term, I saw all the major sights in St. Petersburg and several great spots in Moscow. My only wish is that I went for a full semester!

Yes, I recommend this program

One of the Greatest Experiences of my Life

I decided to go to Russia for several reasons.
1. I know how much studying abroad will enhance my resume
2. I love Russian history.
3. I am a history major.
4. I love traveling.

I didn't know a lick of Russian before I left and I wasn't going to let that stop me. No other provider my college has a program to Russia so I was extremely thankful for AIFS.

1. The mini trip to London is a lot of fun and you get so much within the tours that are provided. I have never been to London and felt like I was there for days.

2. Not knowing the language was not a problem. The class that was offered helped out a lot. All of my friends/roommates knew Russian and helped. It is true when they say that learning a language in another country is easier.

3. I never realized how much of a difference and impact it made to actually see historical buildings, sites, and museums would have on my learning. The classes were fun and took you on trips.

4. AIFS provides you with a transportation card to get anywhere which was TOTALLY convenient. We were constantly out and about. When you are are abroad you have no time for the computer and to stay in. It is so amazing to explore a foreign area.

5. Russia is so exotic compared to other European cities. It's really interesting to see the dynamic between Saint Petersburg and Moscow.

6. AIFS provides you with SO many fun cultural excursions to theater performances and museums. Plus they help you get around the first few days. If you ever need a suggestion of where to go or how to get the there staff is right on your side.

7. I met some of the best friends I ever had on this trip and wouldn't take back any of my experiences for the world.

Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience!

I loved being in Russia, and because of the experiences I had with this program I cannot wait to return one day! Academically I was taught very useful information and the teachers were always open to helping you with understanding topics and situations that may otherwise be confusing. The living situation was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. It definitely wasn't a standard that most of the Americans on the trip were overly comfortable with, however, those with open minds and a willingness to adapt will be comfortable in no time. Never did I feel like I was in any danger or even feel unsafe. Petersburg was a beautiful city and was so exciting to explore. Our trips to other cities were just as exciting and a great learning experience. Any students serious about learning about Russia, the culture or language, will enjoy there experience here.

Yes, I recommend this program

A Semester in St. Petersburg, Russia

Russia is known for being both vast and mysterious. It is the largest country in the world yet many people know very little about it. This is one reason I choose to study there. Before my study abroad experience, I only had a vague picture of what day to day life in Russia consisted of. For centuries authors and adventurists have noted Russia's mysteriousness as part of its beauty. Russia has long been known for its introverted or "cold" mentality, so I was curious just how true this stereotype was. The Russian language, like the country itself, is also something of mystery, especially to the western world. I was drawn to discover what Russia was really like. So January 2011, I began my Russian journey. Russia, unlike many study abroad destinations, require an extensive visa process. At first the pages of questions can be overwhelming but with help from AIFS, it really wasn't too much of a hassle. AIFS took care of all the hard work I like to imagine. So I recommend not getting freaked out by the long process, it's worth it. Deciding what to bring is also something that takes time but not difficult if you prepare. The weather while I was there was mainly winter with a few weeks of spring towards the end. Most days, until early April, were white with snow yet still sunny. I experienced temperatures below zero degrees but was prepared so that wasn't a problem. I recommend bringing many layers. Bring long underwear and wool socks. Bring shoes that are somewhat waterproof, I actually bought a pair of rain boots in St. Petersburg that worked great for me. I've always had the mindset where if my feet are comfortable, then I'm comfortable. So with some long underwear, some thick pants, a sweater and a winter coat, I was comfortable enough to trudge through the layers of snow. Day to day life in St. Petersburg was a fascinating new experience. I choose to live in the dorms my whole semester and didn't regret it once. I made friends with students from all over the world. The dorms are also connected to the university classrooms so you don't even have to get all bundled up before class everyday. When I left for Russia, I had only one semester of Russian under my belt so I tested into the second lowest Russian language class. This worked out well for me because I had, in my opinion, the best professor and also a small class. But most of my learning, like any language, was done outside the classroom. Often I would meet Russians when we would go out on the weekends. This is where my language really grew and it was nice to interact with Russians my age. Groceries are easy to get and inexpensive, just a walk across the street and you're there. The cultural excursions were also a big plus to the AIFS program and they were all great! We toured museums, went to hockey games, went bowling. You can find something new to do everyday in St. Petersburg. It's also a beautiful city to walk aimlessly around. It is often known as the most European city of Russia but this does not mean they are "European." It's really just the architecture that mimics that of Venice, Italy. The people and culture are still Russian so if it's a Russian study abroad experience you're looking for, go to St. Petersburg! The semester I spent in Russia was honestly the most eye opening and fun I've ever had. I would recommend this program to anyone!