Russian majors will have completed an intensive program of language learning that will permit them to operate at an advanced level of Russian, using authentic language in real life situations.
- They are able to understand the main ideas and most details of face-to-face conversations, interviews, short lectures on familiar topics, and news items and reports primarily dealing with factual information.
- The students can read with understanding and follow the essential points in most texts. They can comprehend the essential information to make appropriate inferences, recognize different uses of language and styles in a variety of texts, including literary.
- They can speak in most social situations, narrate and describe in some detail, communicate facts, and speak casually about topics of current public and personal interest. In special fields of competence they can support opinions, explain, and hypothesize.
- They can write about a variety of topics with sufficient precision. On topics relating to particular interests and special fields of competence our seniors are capable of sophisticated composition.
- Students will also have gained a basic knowledge of Russian history and culture, have read the most important classics of Russian literature, and have achieved a sufficient level of cultural competency and cultural background to be able to interact in appropriate ways in contemporary Russian society.
In order to achieve those goals:
At Middlebury Russian majors take a two-year sequence of language courses: RUSS101-102-103 and RUSS201-202. At Middlebury students take several courses in culture, literature, and history, including two required courses: RUSS122 (the survey course in Russian culture) and RUSS151 (19th century Russian literature).
They are encouraged to attend the Middlebury Russian School intensive program (third year of Russian) in the summer. Russian majors are required to study in Russia in their junior year for a semester (required) or a year (required if they have completed only second year Russian). At the School in Russia they take special courses in language, literature, culture and history, as well as at least one mainstream course (direct enrollment) at the university alongside Russian students. Both at the summer school and abroad students are required to observe the language pledge. They are tested in all four language skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking) at the end of the language school and study abroad programs. In their senior year students take the senior seminar (in Russian) in which they write an independent research paper in Russian.