The Middlebury program in Irkutsk offers cultural and linguistic immersion through a rigorous curriculum and adherence to the Middlebury Language Pledge. By pledging to speak only Russian while abroad, students will have the best chance of acquiring fluency and actively engaging in the local environment. School in Russia students primarily take their classes together. Conducted in Russian by local university professors, they include Russian civilization, culture and language. The spetskursy, or content seminars, feature topics relating to Russian history, politics, or literature. Additionally, Irkutsk State University, Middlebury's host institution, offers mainstream courses in biology, geography, and geology that focus on Lake Baikal, in addition to a full range of liberal arts disciplines. All students are encouraged to get involved in the community through internships or interactions within the clubs and activities available.
- All course work is conducted entirely in Russian
- Students adhere to the Middlebury College Language Pledge
- Courses at the program center and at Irkutsk State University
- Housing with Russian families
- Internships available in many fields