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St. Petersburg, Russia

Program Site: St. Petersburg State University’s Smolny campus, approximately 20 minutes from central St. Petersburg, administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) 

Eligibility: Minimum 3.0 cumulative USC GPA. RLP students must have completed four semesters of college-level Russian or the equivalent. RASP students must have completed two semesters of college-level Russian or the equivalent.

Description:  Envisioned by Peter the Great as his “Window to the West,” and built by French and Italian architects, St. Petersburg is Russia’s cultural capital and home to many theaters, museums, grand parks, gardens, canals, and palaces. The city of nearly 5 million people has retained its old-world charm (and stunning architecture) even as it has moved into a new political and economic reality.

CIEE students receive instruction through St. Petersburg State University’s Center of Russian Language and Culture. Students with two or more semesters of Russian can participate in the Russian Area Studies Program (RASP), which is ideal for students of history, international relations and political science. The Russian Language Program (RLP) is for students with four or more semesters of Russian and focuses on language, literature and Russian culture.

Academics: Students participate in a two-day orientation session prior to arrival in St. Petersburg. The RASP semester program is designed for students who have an interest in Russian area studies but may not be majoring in Russian language. The program can accommodate different levels of language proficiency and offers a set of courses, taught in English, on Russian history, culture and civilization, in addition to the rigorous language classes. The RLP semester program focuses on intensive language study, with courses in phonetics, advanced composition and syntax, conversation, translation, and analytical readings, as well as lectures on Russian literature and contemporary Russian life. All courses are taught in Russian. Students attending the full year take RLP I in the fall, and RLP II in the spring.

Sample RLP courses:
-Comparative Cultural Studies: the United States and Russia
-Mentality, Social Behavior, and the Representation of Russia
-Russian Social and Political Life

Sample RASP courses:
-A Century of Russian Cinema
-Presidential Election in Russia, Challenges of Democratic Transition
-Russian Civilization: Popular Stereotypes and Social Behavior 

Sample St. Petersburg State University courses:
- Russian History: Perestroikas in Russia from the 9th to the 20th Century
- Ethnic Studies: National and Ethnic Issues in Modern Russia
- Russian Civilization and Current Press
- Russian Culture: Visual and Performing Arts

Course Load and Credit: RASP and RLP students can earn up to 17 credits per semester; year students earn up to 34 credits. Students take 4 or 5 courses per semester, depending on the program.

Activities and Other Program Features: The program offers three overnight field trips each semester: Moscow, Novgorod, and Tallinn, Estonia (fall semester), or the Pskov region (spring semester). Eight mandatory excursions are selected from the following choices: city orientation; Pushkin in St. Petersburg; Dostoyevsky in St. Petersburg; the Siege of Leningrad (with Piskarevskoye Cemetery); The Russian Museum; The Menshikov Palace; St. Petersburg Cathedrals; City of Pushkin; Petrodvorets; Pavlovsk; and Yusupov Palace.

Accommodations: Students are housed in private homes with Russian families. All meals are provided except for weekday lunches.

Dates: Fall, Spring, or year. Fall semester runs from late August to mid-December. Spring semester runs from late January to mid-May. Year program runs from late August to mid-May.

Estimated Semester Cost: 
Additional Expenses*..........$10,306

Cost Updated: 5/28/15
Text Updated: 8/7/15

*Additional expenses include estimated costs for airfare, room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, and personal expenses (which can vary greatly from student to student). USC financial aid, scholarships, and tuition remission may be applied to program costs. Please visit the Office of Overseas Studies for more detailed cost information. 

CIEE Saint Petersburg (RLP)
CIEE Saint Petersburg (RASP)
CIEE Course Syllabi
Russian Embassy
Russia Tourist Information
Lonely Planet Russia
Lonely Planet St. Petersburg
"Russian Ramblings" - USC Student Blog