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Global Seminar: Russian Language & Culture (St. Petersburg, Russia)
St. Petersburg, Russia
Terms: Summer

Dates / Deadlines:

Term Year App Deadline App Review Begins Start Date End Date
Summer 2016 15-FEB-2016 
Variable 14-MAY-2016 25-JUN-2016
 NOTE: Dates on this page are for information only; final dates will be confirmed with participants after acceptance to the program. Do not purchase airfare until instructed to do so by your Program Manager. The Start Date indicates the day participants arrive at the program location; the End Date indicates the day participants depart from the program location.
Summer 2017 01-MAR-2017** Variable TBA TBA

** Most programs’ applications are reviewed on a rolling basis (starting August 1st for Spring programs and January 15th for Summer and Fall programs). NOTE: Some programs start the admissions process earlier and fill before the deadline, and some programs’ applications aren’t reviewed until after the deadline. Check with Study Abroad staff for details.

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Quick Facts:

 Program Types:
Faculty-Led Global Seminar
 Areas of Study:
Cen/East Euro Studies, Russian/Russian Studies, A&S Core: Historical Context, Engineering Humanities/SS
 Minimum Required GPA (at time of application):
 Minimum Class Standing (at program start):
1 - second-semester freshman
 Course Prerequisite(s):
No Program Course Prerequisites
 Open to students from:
All CU Campuses (UCB/UCD/UCCS), Any U.S. Institution, CU-Boulder
 Language(s) of Instruction:
English and Russian
 Course Load for Summer/Winter Program:
9 credits
 Length of Summer/Winter Program:
6 Weeks
Host Institution: St. Petersburg State University

Program Information:


Group Photo by the Saint Basil's Cathedral by Artemi Romanov

  • Spend your summer in beautiful St. Petersburg, "The Venice of the North"

  • Earn 9 credits in 6 weeks

  • No prior knowledge of Russian required (all levels accommodated)

  • Numerous field trips within St. Petersburg, as well as a weekend trip to Moscow


With a population of over five million, St. Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. It is located on the Gulf of Finland at the mouth of the Neva Rver. More than 500 bridges span the Neva and its canals flow throughout the city. St. Petersburg is one of Russia's main cultural centers with 19 theaters, 40 museums, and more than 40 institutions of higher learning.

Actors by Unknown

The city itself, which was the capital of Russia under the later czars, was planned and built by renowned architects and is a fascinating blend of Western and Russian architecture. St. Petersburg State University was founded in 1724 by order of Tsar Peter I and is located along the banks of the Neva in a beautiful old part of the city.


All students will be matched with a host family that is located by CIEE Study Center staff. You will be placed with a pre-screened Russian family and provided with a private bedroom. The homestays are located throughout St. Petersburg and are close to either metro stations or other public transport. Host families provide breakfast and dinner every day.

Mid-day meals are taken independently. You can find places to eat near the Smolny Institute or bring a lunch.


You are responsible for making your own transportation arrangements to Russia and back. The program begins and ends in St. Petersburg. Transportation on program-related field trips outside of St. Petersburg is provided as part of the program fee. During the program you can purchase a student pass to use the St. Petersburg transportation system. It is very inexpensive to get around St. Petersburg on the metro and local trams.


  • Course: RUSS 3601: 3 upper-division credits, and Russian language course: 6 credits, lower- or upper-division (depending on your background in the language)
  • Credits: 9 credit hours
  • Approved for: RUSS 3601 fulfills the Historical Context core requirement. Language courses can be applied towards MAPS language deficiency.
  • Grading: This is a CU-Boulder course, so you will receive letter grades
  • See course descriptions:

The program's two courses are offered in conjunction with St. Petersburg State University.

"Russian Culture Past and Present" (RUSS 3601) is worth 3 credits at CU. It has been approved for historical context in the Arts and Sciences core curriculum. The class introduces you to Russian culture from the 9th century to the present through lectures about Russian literature, folklore, art, architecture, and music. It is taught by the program director, CU-Boulder Professor Artemi Romanov. Lectures will be given two hours per day, Monday through Friday. All lectures are in English. A journal and term paper (written after returning from St. Petersburg) are required for the course. A detailed course syllabus is available from the program director.

Field trips include visits to palaces, museums, churches, and other important cultural sites. There will also be several trips to sites outside St. Petersburg, such as the historic city of Novgorod and Valaam Island.

"Russian Language," the second course, is worth 6 hours of credit. This six-week language course serves students at all levels, from beginning to advanced. Russian language classes will be held at the CIEE Study Center at St. Petersburg State University's Smolny Institute. You will be assigned to a small language section (4-12 students per group) according to your level of proficiency in Russian. Credit will be recorded at the appropriate level (first year, second year or upper-division) on your CU transcript.

The program usually begins in mid-May and ends in late June. You can stay in Russia or travel once the program has ended. If you plan to return to Boulder immediately after the program ends, you will have time to enroll in the "B" term of CU-Boulder's summer semester.


The program is directed by Professor Artemi Romanov, a faculty member of the CU-Boulder Russian department. A native of St. Petersburg who taught at St. Petersburg State University, Professor Romanov will assist in choosing program participants and lead an orientation session before the program begins. He also teaches the Russian Culture course, accompanies the group during excursions and other activities, and is regularly available to provide general assistance. Professor Romanov is aided in his duties by staff at the CIEE Study Center and St. Petersburg State University, who assist with program excursions, classroom arrangements, and other administrative tasks. Both Professor Romanov and members of the CIEE Study Center are available in case of emergency.

See Professor Romanov's Faculty Spotlight.




  • Scholarships offered by the Russian Department at CU-Boulder: The Russian department will one or two scholarships each summer to students with financial need. If you apply for the CU-Boulder study abroad scholarship you will automatically be considered for his scholarship.

  • Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) Grants: (up to $2,400/project) for undergraduate research or creative work projects including projects while studying abroad. Application, detailed descriptions, project archive (to get project ideas) are available on the UROP website. Application deadline is EARLY - usually in late February/early March.



Row Boat Race to the Gulf of Finland by Drew Isham

Program Reviews:

Morgan Dene Osborne, Summer 2014 Participant
The courses were challenging but manageable. St.Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. If you go to St.Petersburg make sure to set aside time to wander around the city and explore! Locals are very friendly, however English is not a commonly spoken language, so it is a little difficult to get around if you don't speak at least a beginner level of Russian. Artemi made the excursions AMAZING. He is a wealth of knowledge and is very in tune with what the students are interested (and when it is time for a food break!) Overall one of the best experiences of my life.
Isabelle Maruenda Vinsonhaler, Summer 2014 Participant
Courses were a lot of work! It would have been better though if the Russian teachers at the Smolony Institute could work more on conversational language. It would have really helped us get around the city. the city itself was magnificent. Having a sort of run down beauty to it, helped to make the trip so much more magical.
Summer 2015 Participant
The courses were very difficult but fair, if you did your work. The location was amazing and St. Petersburg is a beautiful city. Locals are helpful if you are polite, but they can, and have a tendency to be rude to outsiders. Be polite, but curt and don't let them know you're nervous to talk to them even if your language skills are just mediocre. Excursions and trips were meaningful and a good break from classes.
Summer 2015 Participant
The courses themselves were very interesting with the teachers being capable and open to discussion for the most part. Some of the teachers were more creative, especially in the realm of language teaching. The location itself is very beautiful although understandably cold (even by European Russian standards). The locals themselves were varied. Many people came off as rude, possibly because of the culture and possibly partially because of the size of the city. Upon meeting the locals, however, many became much more open and willing to interact. Looking back I wish I had spent more time with the locals. The excursions were educational with a strong focus on culture, history, and "high" art scene of the region. If a prospective student enjoys these it will be worth much more. If they do not then they will still be required to attend. Some of the most fascinating excursions were outside of the city including ones to Moscow and Novgorod. Stamina is needed for this trip as well as a great deal of patience and thirst for adventure.
Rachel Morgan Hultquist, Summer 2014 Participant
Our courses were incredibly challenging, as we were in class for 3.5-5 hours a day and the classes were all in Russian. But you learn a lot and the teachers are amazing; it's totally worth it. The location is amazing: the university used to be a place where widows could stay so it's really old and incredibly beautiful. It's also not too far away from the city center and it's close to various modes of public transportation. Interacting with locals is definitely something that will happen quite a bit, as you live with host families - most of which do not speak any English - and you will have to shop for groceries and other things. The excursions are many and varied. It can be a lot of walking and you're always busy but you'll learn a lot and Artemi is the best tour guide you can hope for.
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