The Russian Psyche (Avail. Year-Round)

The Russians:
A Developmental History of a National Psyche

The Russians is an innovative cultural immersion designed to teach more about Russia than can be achieved through traditional study. Through venues and experiences, students will see and discuss paintings and architecture, analyze books and films, see and discuss theatrical productions, experience the banya and the dacha, and meet Russians to discuss life in modern Russia. The course also includes trips out of St. Petersburg and to Moscow.

View from the Hermitage entrence. Photo courtesy of Hannah Frank

Partners for this program include the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

This practical course is intended to produce future businessmen, diplomats, historians, professors, and other professionals skilled at overcoming cultural differences and culture shock. To achieve this, the arts are used as a starting point to facilitate cross-cultural communication through a better understanding of local culture, beliefs, and mentality. We will explore the “mental software” which influences the everyday behavior of the average Russian.

This course invites students to think critically about a range of issues that affect everything from diplomacy to daily life. We will explore the Russians’ use of patronymics and other ways of addressing people. We will discuss the role of the smile in Russian culture. We will learn why so many Russians believe that corruption is a permanent fixture of their society and why a “good tsar” is best to l ead their country. We will understand better the role of language, religion, and history in modern Russia.

Jump to: Dates and Costs; Requirements; Photos; Application.


Other partners include St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy, the State Russian Museum, the Museum of Russian Ethnography


RS-100/200/300 Russian Language Study 

Courses offered at six different levels, from beginning to advanced. For more information see SRAS’s suggested syllabi for beginning (100), intermediate (200), and advanced (300).

Academic Hours: Semester 300/ Summer 160

RS-251 Russian Studies Overview

This class highlights various influences on and products of Russian culture. Geography and climate, great names and events in Russian history, religion, folklore, traditions, and linguistics are all touched upon.
Academic Hours: Semester 32/ Summer 16

RS-331 Russia and its Culture

This expansive and in-depth course is taught in five modules: Literature; Cinema; Theater; Art; and Everyday Life. The first three concentrate on reading and/or viewing popular cultural artifacts of the Late-Tsarist, Soviet, and Post-Soviet eras. Art is a particular focus of this course, making full use of St. Petersburg’s art infrastructure. Students will explore and discuss the massive collections of The Hermitage, the Russian Museum, and the Museum of Print to discuss how art is created, acquired, stored, censored, supported, stolen, and recovered. Visits to artist studios will open the world of modern art. Photography is used to better understand sculpture and the city of St. Petersburg. Lastly, students will experience “everyday culture” in Russia by going to a banya, a dacha, a supermarket, and even a Russian home to help cook Russian food!
Academic Hours: 60+ semester; 40+ summer

RS-331b Final Project

This practical laboratory course is connected to RS-331 Russia and its Culture. Students may elect not to complete the final project and receive a pass/fail mark for RS-331. Those who require a grade must complete the final project, which is worth 20% of the overall grade for the course. For most students, this will be an academic paper 10-15 pages in length about any subject related to the program. However, SRAS will consider creative, informative videos, annotated photo journalism, field research, and artistic creation to be acceptable forms for the final project to take. Students should discuss and agree upon their topic and format with a staff member of SRAS and, if they are seeking transfer credit, their academic advisor at their home university within the first five weeks of their program.Russian Studies

Travel Study
(included with cost of program)

The Summer Imperial Residences
The imperial summer residences are very important for getting a ‘feel’ of the imperial splendor of the former capital of the Russian Empire. During our tour we will visit Pavlovsk Imperial Palace, one of the better preserved palaces filled with incredible art treasures. The Palace has rich history and provides us with an excellent opportunity to talk about court life and politics in Russia in the late 18-th and early 19-th centuries. If the weather is good on the way back to the city we will stop in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) and walk in its elegant Park. Pavlovsk and Pushkin are very close to each other – about 15-20 min by bus. Both places are very beautiful in any season. In summer we take the opportunity to see one of the ‘ten wonders of Russia’ – the fountains of Peterhof, the world famous Imperial palace and park founded by Peter the Great himself.

The Art of Moscow
This four-day tour of Russia’s political capital includes walking tours of the city and its street art, admission to several museums, and other culture-oriented events. Roundtrip rail tickets and hostel stay are included (ask about upgrading to a hotel).

– Dates and Costs –Financial Aid to Study Russian in Russia

Semester: Cost: $9 550*   
     Fall: Sep 2 – Dec 13, 2013 (Apply by May 15, 2013)
    Feb 4 – May 17, 2013 (apply by Oct 31, 2012)
Summer: Students interested in this course for summer study may like Art and Museums in Russia or these other options.


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Cost Includes: tuition for study as outlined, dorm stay, visa and registration, pre-departure materials, local orientation, admission to all included venues, health and accident insurance (with restrictions), round-trip airport transfers, SRAS in-country support, and use of a mobile telephone for the duration of the program.

Prerequisites: Minimum GPA of 2.5 overall and 3.0 in major courses. No prior knowledge of Russian required.

About the Classes: All courses are taught in English and designed to fulfill credit requirements in multiple areas. Your classmates will be mostly Americans and others based at US universities, although language classes may have a wider representation from European and other countries. When you arrive for your program, you will be placed in a group according to your language level, as determined by a short written or oral exam.

Credit Transfer and Transcripts: How many credits your home university may award depends entirely on your home university. SRAS recommends discussing this with your advisor and SRAS before you apply. Students planning on applying for credit transfer must read our online FAQ page for more info. The program is based at St. Petersburg State University (SPbGU), an accredited institution of higher education in Russia. Transcripts are issued from SPbGU.

Textbooks: Students should make sure to order and recieve these books while still in America. They are not likely to be readily available in English in Russia. Click the links to order directly from Amazon. The following texts should be purchased by the student: The Russians by Hendrick Smith; Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia, by Orlando Figes; and The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich (The Squabble) by Nikolai Gogol.

Note that The Russians is currently out of print, but that many, many used copies are available. The text is still widely used in classrooms as a glimpse into the history and forces that have helped forge the modern “Russian Soul.” Note as well that The Squabble is available for free as an e-text, but only in Russian. Those students who will read the text in English should purchase a translated copy before departing America.

The following texts are provided by SRAS in e-copy in Russian and English free-of-charge (they will be emailed to the students): Lefty by Nikolai Leskov; The Bronze Horseman by Alexander Pushkin; The Twelve, by Alexander Blok; and Heart of a Dog, by Mikhail Bulgakov. Students may print the e-copy at their convenience, load the file to a reader, or read from their computers.

SRAS specializes in study, research, and travel abroad to Russia and Eurasia.SRAS also maintains this site and provides free info for students studying Russia and Eurasia. Explore our resources to find out more!
The School of Russian and Asian Studies
The School of Russian and Asian Studies
The School of Russian and Asian Studies

About The School of Russian and Asian Studies

SRAS specializes in study, research, and travel abroad to Russia and Eurasia.SRAS also maintains this site and provides free info for students studying Russia and Eurasia. Explore our resources to find out more!