CIEE Russian Area Studies in St. Petersburg, Russia

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Students with 0-4 semesters of Russian are invited to immerse themselves in Russian history, culture, politics, language study, and university life at CIEE St. Petersburg. Select coursework across a range of academic areas, in English, along with Russian language classes matched to your skill level. Integrate yourself into the local community through volunteer work. All courses are complemented with CIEE co-curricular activities and excursions beyond the city to enhance classroom learning and provide intercultural understanding.

  • Live in a 300-year-old city where traditional and modern forces converge.
  • Advance your Russian language skills and explore Russian culture with support from the longest-running U.S. study abroad-Russia program.
  • See a ballet or Opera in the city where Mikhail Baryshnikov began his celebrated dance career.

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9.5 Rating
based on 4 reviews
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  • Academics 9
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.5
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Yes, I recommend this program

Russia's window to Europe doesn't disappoint

In 1703, Peter the Great founded Saint Petersburg on territory he had just conquered from Sweden. He wanted to orient Russia to Europe, so he built Saint Petersburg as a European-style city. With its Baroque architecture, bridges, and canals, it is easy to see why Saint Petersburg has been nicknamed the "Venice of the North." There are also examples of "Leningrad" architecture from the Soviet period, and of course, new developments. Walking through Saint Petersburg is like walking through a history book, and CIEE's tours give you a deep insight into the city's rich history. CIEE's staff is always there to help with whatever problems you may have, and they have good recommendations for things to do. The classes are interesting, and how often can you study with a Baroque-style Orthodox cathedral in the middle of your campus? If it is your first time traveling to Russia, Saint Petersburg is the place to be, and CIEE is right program for you.

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Yes, I recommend this program

St Petersburg: Retrospective

Picking Russia for my study abroad, especially before I left, seemed like a big risk. As an Amerian, you hear many things about Russia... the people, the infrastructure, Soviet time... It creates a lot of preconceived ideas of what my study abroad experience will be like. The visa process also seemed daunting, with all the requirements and precision needed on the application. That's where CIEE came in-- and the staff at CIEE were instrumental to how successful my semester abroad was. CIEE as a study abroad provider has been around for a long time, and it really shows! I was helped every step of the way, especially while in Russia.

I was able to experience a lot of great things through CIEE excursions, Fabrege Egg painting, pub trivia nights, cooking classes, Russian ballets, and lots of great museum trips. The cooking class was especially fun, and a great way to practice my Russian. I was also provided with great real-life tips from the office, and I was getting around and acting like a local in no time. Classes were also very informative, and I especially enjoy the professors here, who have a lot to teach students about Russia and about the world. I was able to learn a lot of new things about Russia's political system and culture, as well as get an in-depth view into Russia's ethnic make-up. I felt like my classes really enriched my understanding of Russia, and that I got good value.

St. Petersburg is a really beautiful city too, and I didn't want to leave! I visited so many amazing churches and museums, even an amazing Soviet Arcade Museum, which was one of my favorite places to visit! Another one of my favorite memories for sure was going out to a Russian Disco with all of my friends and just having a great night out. I also received an amazing Sobesenik (conversation partner) through CIEE, and I highly recommend all prospective students coming to Russia to find one. My sobesenik offered a great look into everyday life as a Russian student, and how Russians my age live, work, and study. It was definitely another of my favorite experiences in Russia.

I think my experience here in Russia has impacted my life for the better, for sure. I learned so much about a culture different from mine, and I got to learn about a place often alienated by the West first hand. I think I also learned a lot about culture shock and cultural integration, and I came home wiser and more in touch with the world. Picking a country 'off the beaten path' of study abroad is a great challenge, I think, and I highly encourage students to consider Russia. You'll get to meet great people, and you'll learn a lot about yourself and the world!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Great times in St Petersburg

I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend my final year of undergrad in this wonderful program. The staff realizes that there can be a large culture shock between Russia and the US, so they work very hard to give you the tools you need to prevent any issues. I went there without knowing any of the Russian Language, and I didn't have any problems adjusting. It was a lot of fun and I wish I could have stayed longer!

The people are great, the classes are informative, the city is wonderful, and I'd recommend this program to anyone who was interested. Even besides the experience, I'd recommend going as a resume builder because I think that my attendance in this program helped me get accepted into my MBA program.

Definitely choose the homestay option over the hostel.

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Yes, I recommend this program

amazing study abroad!

I’ve been fascinated with Russian literature since I first read Crime and Punishment in high school – when I got the chance to do a study abroad during college, I knew that I wanted to go to Russia (particularly St. Petersburg), to study the language and see the places where the books were set. CIEE had a lot of great activities (Crime and Punishment walking tour, Pushkin’s apartment, Catherine Palace, a beer tasting) and helped students meet Russians – I had a volunteer position teaching English, which was a lot of fun. My host mom was really nice as well – she didn’t speak English, but was extremely patient and helped me a lot with practicing language. She also was helpful with directions around the city, and ideas of places to go and when to go there (can't say I understood 100% of the time, but what I did understand was helpful!).
My Russian class was great – it was small (5 people), which made participation more necessary than in a larger class and also much easier. I liked my other classes as well – I took Russian History, Russian Civilization, and Arts of St. Petersburg, which was one of my favorites – we went on field trips to museums and galleries around the city.
I did Alternative Break in Kirov (a CIEE-organized volunteer trip) during spring travel week. I was hesitant at first to give up the week of travel, but after the first day, I knew it was the right choice – I met amazing people, had a second great host family, and got to see places off the beaten path – the two of us on that trip volunteered in kindergartens and a children’s home, led a discussion group with Russians, and went to two high schools to talk to students, in addition to seeing the city. And there were weekends afterwards to travel (Tallinn, Estonia, is beautiful) as well as CIEE organized trips to Moscow and Pskov. St. Petersburg is a beautiful city - there was more to do there than I could fit into the semester, and I'm glad I went!

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