The School in Russia offers distinct academic and cultural experiences in Irkutsk, Moscow, and Yaroslavl.


Irkutsk, is a regional cultural center with spectacular natural attributes whose winters are among the sunniest of any major city in Russia. The life and history of the city are closely tied to Lake Baikal, known as the Pearl of Siberia, the world’s deepest freshwater lake. Endemic species, accounting for 80 percent of the life found in or on the lake, thrive in Lake Baikal. Students can learn about the lake’s ecology while simultane­ously benefiting from the region’s recreational opportunities. The city of 600,000 is host to multiple universities and is full of students who are active in all walks of Russian cultural life. Irkutsk boasts several theaters and museums, and the plentiful social and cultural outlets should assuage any fears about Siberian isolation. Past students have taken advantage of Irkutsk’s proximity to Mongolia and China, as well as to the Russian Far East, for travel during vacations or after the conclusion of the academic program.

Studies in Irkutsk

Students take courses at the Middlebury Center in Russian language, literature, culture, politics, and history, with particular focus on regional Siberian studies. Irkutsk State University, Middlebury’s host institution, offers mainstream courses in biology, geography, and geology that focus on Lake Baikal, in addition to a full range of liberal arts disciplines. See detailed course descriptions.


Moscow is the center of Russian cultural and political life. Whether spotting Lenin’s ghost in Red Square, exploring neighborhood boutiques, or sampling authentic Georgian cuisine, Moscow offers all the excitement of a cosmopolitan city. Students should know, however, that studying in Moscow, with its eleven million residents, imper­sonal attitude, and huge crowds in the metro, is not the typical “Russian” experience they might be expecting. As the ease of transitioning into such a large city cannot be overestimated, Moscow is best suited for students with strong language skills and prior experience in Russia.

We now offer a Beginner Track option for students who have no previous experience in Russian language. To learn more, visit our Beginner Track page.

Studies in Moscow

Students primarily take their courses at the Middlebury center in Russian language, literature, and culture, with content seminars, “spetskursy”, focusing on economics, politics, history, and regional studies. Middlebury’s host institution, the Higher School of Economics (HSE) offers a full range of courses in the social sciences. Students who have completed coursework in the same area of study may also choose to take some of their university courses at the Shchukin Theater Institute or the Russian State University for the Humanities (RGGU). See detailed course descriptions.


One of the oldest cities on the Volga river and the largest city on the Golden Ring, Yaroslavl has been rapidly developing over the last decade without losing its renown tradition and history. Once a bustling trade city of the Tsardom of Russia, this peaceful city remains today one of the major cultural centers in the European part of the country. It is quite modern and urban, though onion-domed churches at the end of seemingly every street never fail to remind you of its grand history.

Yaroslavl and Burlington, Vermont, are part of Sister Cities International. This partnership began in 1988 with the help of then-mayor Bernie Sanders. Learn more.

Studies in Yaroslavl

Founded in 1908, Yaroslavl State Pedagogical University (YGPU) is one of the oldest partners of Middlebury School in Russia and has one of the best schools for teaching Russian as a foreign language; its instructors and professors have 20 years’ experience working with Middlebury students. Yaroslavl is filled with young students from all over Russia and its vibrant social life gives the city a youthful and energetic feel. Close to all major travel hubs, studying in Yaroslavl makes travel around Russia and Europe cheap and easy. See detailed course descriptions.