Summer Program in St. Petersburg, Russia

Изучайте русский язык в России!

river between two rows of buildings lit up by sunset

White Nights! Golden Onion Domes! Royal Palaces! In June, the sun doesn’t set in St. Petersburg until well after midnight and the pearl of Russian Imperial architecture glows most brightly. Known as the “Venice of the North” because of its many canals and rivers, St. Petersburg is liveliest during the four weeks of our program (end of May to end of June), when the streets are bustling and opportunities for cultural contact are the greatest.

Established in 1989, the UR Summer Program in Russia began in the provincial city of Tver before moving to Moscow in 1992 and to St. Petersburg in 1994. Each, year, anywhere from eight to sixteen students from the University of Rochester and elsewhere make the trip. For many, it is a life-changing experience: “This has been the most wonderful experience of my life.” “The program and the Russian people have changed my life.” “What I loved about this trip cannot be expressed with words.”

Spend your summer studying Russian in St. Petersburg! Below is information on:

Please note that all information about this program is tentative and subject to change. Check with the program director for the most recent information.

Program Dates and Deadlines

view of buildings lit up at twilight, across the neva river
Bridges across the Neva River are raised every night between 1:25 and 5:00am. This bridge is not far from the Winter Palace / Hermitage and was taken during the White Nights, when the sun does not set till 3am.

The program dates for the 2020 Summer Program in St. Petersburg are May 24 to June 21.

The deadline for applications with consideration for Burton Awards is February 1, 2020, although late applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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Students receive 4 credits of either RUS 107, 157 or 207, all of which are part of a humanities cluster in Russian and count towards both the major and minor in Russian and Russian Studies. University of Rochester credits are fully transferable to non-UR students’ home institutions.

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First-year Russian or equivalent.

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Participants in our month-long program attend three to four hours of classes a day, four days a week (Fridays and weekends are reserved for excursions). Classes rotate and include grammar, phonetics, conversation, analytical reading, and Russian culture. All classes are held on the main campus of the University of St. Petersburg on the Neva River and across from the Hermitage Museum and are taught by university instructors.

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Students stay with host families who provide two meals a day, private rooms, as much Russian as you want, and the chance to see Russia though Russian eyes. Placement is supervised by the University of St. Petersburg and most families are repeat hosts. The homestays are one of the most rewarding features of the program for our students: “My hostess cared for me better than my own mother.” “My family was excellent… They were willing to let me do everything and were extraordinary in helping my Russian.”

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Fellowship Aid

The UR Education Abroad Fellowship Fund helps defray costs for UR undergraduates studying language abroad. Applications are part of the online application process due at the end of January.

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yellow building with tall tower and spire against blue sky with light clouds

A typical excursion itinerary looks like this:

  • Week One: City tour; Peter & Paul Fortress; river and canal trip; Catherine the Great’s Summer Palace.
  • Week Two: Hermitage, Peterhof (Peter the Great’s Summer Palace), a weekend trip to Moscow (includes city tour, Red Square, Kremlin, Tretyakov Gallery and other cultural sites).
  • Week Three: Russian museum; excursion to the ancient city of Staraya Ladoga.
  • Week Four: St. Isaac's Cathedral & other famous churches; Summer Garden; farewell party.

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Program Costs and Application

The program fee - which includes tuition, homestay with two meals, 4 UR credits & all excursions – is determined by the Education Abroad office and is $3750 in 2020. Airfare is separate and arranged for individually by participants.

Applications are available online through the Education Abroad Portal.

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The program is run by:

Professor John Givens
Head of the Russian Program
Chair for the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures
Professor of Russian
Lattimore 408A
(585) 276-5856

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