During their first semester at the School in Russia, participants take four courses. For most students, this consists of one core course and three electives. The core course, “The Russian Language,” includes Russian grammar, as well as Russian phonetics and/or speech practice (these may vary from semester to semester, depending on students’ levels/needs).

Middlebury Courses

For the fall 2019 semester, the following courses are offered:

Cultural Linguistics. Лингвокультурология

The course examines how people talk and communicate with one another on a daily basis life in Russia. Students will study Russian word formation, vocabulary acquisitions and morphology. At the same time, students will be exploring Russian culture in attempt to learn more about what makes Russians different, why they behave this or that way, compare cultural clichés and will attempt to analyze different cultures by applying cross-cultural theories. All the themes discussed over the course of the semester are closely connected with the concept of ‘Russian conciliarity’ that can be traced in a lot of Russian art and behavioral patterns. At the end of the semester, each student has to complete a project and prepare a presentation.

Contemporary Russian Politics. Историко-политические процессы в РФ

The course focuses on current political situation in Russia. Through discussions, students will gain understanding of the main historical events and collisions in Russian history that had a big influence on contemporary Russia. Over the course of the semester, students will watch political TV programs, interviews with Russian politicians, broadcasts of the State Duma meetings and documentaries. Students will have to complete a research on one of the selected topics and write a paper in Russian. Students will also visit various organizations, including a local trade union, local Duma, Youth Government headquarters, and the Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church in Yaroslavl.

Russian Language. Русский Язык

The course consists of two classes - Russian grammar and Russian phonetics.  The Russian grammar course covers different aspects including lexicology, syntax and morphology. The purpose of the phonetics class is to study and practice Russian pronunciation and intonation. Students will recite poems, play out dialogues, write a story about their home University and a make an oral presentation/tour of Yaroslavl.

Contemporary Writing. Основы журналистики

The main objective of this course is to improve students’ Russian writing skills by studying different journalistic genres and writing styles of different prominent journalists in Russia. Students will also write their own articles, reviews, learn to make journalistic reports and conduct interviews. The course will help students expand their Russian vocabulary, improve their writing as well as practice speaking Russian.

Russian History. История России с древнейших времен до XVII

Yaroslavl has witnessed some of the most important events of Russian history including the events of the Times of Trouble, reign of Peter the Great, WWII and many more. By studying about the local history, students will have a chance to experience Russian history firsthand and use the resources available onsite. The history of Russia is tightly connected to the history of one of its oldest regions. After completion of the course, students will gain new perspectives on current Russian social and political situation.

Russian Contemporary Literature. Русская современная литература

The course will focus on works of some of the most outstanding Russian writers of the late 20th century and early 21st century. The main goal of the course is to give students a better understanding of how contemporary Russian literature has been developing and to form an idea of the contemporary trends in Russian literature. Students will read original pieces in Russian and apply close reading techniques to analyze the texts. The reading list includes authors like Pelevin, Dovlatov, Tatyana Tolstaya and others.

Mainstream Courses

Students of advanced-level Russian may choose to pursue one or more classes in the regular departments of YPGU, in place of any of the standard School in Russia courses. Among the факультеты и кафедры which might be of interest to American students:

  • Science: biology, chemistry, physics
  • Math and Computer Science
  • Social Science: economics, geography, political science, psychology, sociology
  • Languages: linguistics, literature
  • Humanities: history, philosophy, religion

Other Sample Electives

The electives offered to students vary from semester to semester and are determined based on students’ academic disciplines and interests for that specific term. Some examples of electives that have been offered in previous semesters:

  • Russian Culture and Civilization
  • History of Russia: 9th Century to 1861
  • Modern Russian History and Contemporary Politics
  • A.S. Pushkin’s “Eugene Onegin”
  • Silver Age of Russian Poetry
  • Contemporary Literature
  • Literary Works of A.P. Chekhov
  • Russian Film
  • Stylistics of the Written Russian Language
  • Cultural Linguistics

All courses are taught in Russian and are exclusive to School in Russia participants. Instructors are selected from various departments of the host university. For the core course, students are divided into language level groups based on the results of a language placement test given prior to arrival in Russia, and on the results of interviews and testing on site. The electives are not divided according to language level, but are taught to the group as a whole. Each class meets for two пары (four academic hours) per week and includes written and oral graded exercises.