Fall, Spring, Summer
Moscow or St. Petersburg, Russia
Advanced Russian language
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The Business Russian Language and Internship (BRLI) Program of the American Council (AC) combines an internship placement averaging 10-15 hours per week with an individualized curriculum focused on the language of business. Cultural immersion is encouraged through peer tutoring, Russian-American discussion clubs, and organized extracurricular activities. UI participants join a group of students from other colleges and universities. Less advanced students without a strong grammar base should consider a semester on the AC Language and Area Studies program first, followed by a session on BRLI. A full-time U.S. resident director provides ongoing logistical support and emergency assistance to participants. UI students earn resident credit on this program.
The curriculum is tailored to students’ language needs, from prior study with a strong grammar base through near-native proficiency. Internship placements vary from multinational companies to local businesses to non-governmental organizations. Credit is reported on a Bryn Mawr University transcript and is applicable toward outstanding major or certificate requirements, depending on department review and approval.
Current and complete information on the program can be found on the AC webpage.
One day a week of the academic program is set aside for travel to local sites of social, cultural and historical significance. All excursions are conducted in Russian and include sites such as museums, churches, schools, research centers, theatres, and historical estates. BRLI participants attend excursions with participants on the Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program (RLASP).
At approximately mid-semester, resident directors arrange a week-long regional field studies trip outside of the host city. For summer participants, these regional field studies take place at the end of their program. BRLI and RLASP groups in Russia have visited sites such as Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-na-Donu, Samara, Sochi, Suzdal, Volgograd, and Yaroslavl, while groups in Almaty have traveled to Nur-Sultan and Ust-Kamenogorsk.
Note: This program is not running during the 2023 calendar year.
Spring Semester: Late January - Early May
Fall Semester: Late August - Mid-December
Academic Year: Late August - Early May
Summer: Early June - Early August
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242
In the years since the collapse of the USSR, Moscow has grown into a multiethnic and multinational metropolis. Elements of its Soviet past remain, but the city has moved fully into the capitalist present, embracing western economic and cultural norms to a much greater degree than much of the rest of Russia. Today, Moscow remains the country's political and economic capital, and rivals St. Petersburg in both art and culture.
RLASP, BRLI, and heritage speaker participants in Moscow are hosted by the Moscow International University (MIU), which was the Russian Federation's first accredited private university. Founded in 1991 by G.A. Yagodin, the USSR's last Minister of Education, MIU is known for its teaching of foreign languages, economics, finances, management, ecology, journalism, arts management, and city management. Students studying with American Councils are placed in MIU's Department of Russian as a Foreign Language.
Participants of American Councils' Contemporary Russia program are hosted by Moscow State University, Russia's largest and most prestigious higher education institution. Content courses, taught in English, are led by esteemed members of the university's history department.
A young city by Russian standards, St. Petersburg celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2003, just one year after a national census put its population at around five million residents. Since its near demolition and depopulation during WWII, St. Petersburg has been painstakingly rebuilt to reflect the glory of the former capital and both its current status as the cultural center of Russia and its historical origins as the window to Europe.
The two-hundred-year-old Russian State Pedagogical University (Herzen University), located in the heart of the city, is one of Russia’s leading educational institutions, with twenty unique academic departments and more than 20,000 students. Its storied Department of Russian as a Foreign Language is the proud host of American Councils’ RLASP, BRLI, and Heritage Speakers programs.
While a small city by Russian standards at 360,000 residents, Vladimir boasts cultural clout as a one-time Russian capital and an important member of the historical Golden Ring. Located 125 miles to the east of Moscow, Vladimir is both far enough from the country’s epicenter to maintain its sense of traditional Russian hospitality and close enough to eschew any sense of isolation.
In Vladimir, RLASP participants are hosted by the KORA Center for Russian Language Study, a private organization founded in 1991 by faculty from Vladimir State University. The KORA center has worked closely with American Councils since 2000, and all of its faculty members are specialists in the instruction of Russian as a foreign language with extensive experience working with American students.
Russia is a country that stretches over a vast expanse of eastern Europe and northern Asia. Once the preeminent republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.; commonly known as the Soviet Union), Russia became an independent country after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.
Russia is a land of superlatives. By far the world’s largest country, it covers nearly twice the territory of Canada, the second largest. It extends across the whole of northern Asia and the eastern third of Europe, spanning 11 time zones and incorporating a great range of environments and landforms, from deserts to semiarid steppes to deep forests and Arctic tundra. Russia contains Europe’s longest river, the Volga, and its largest lake, Ladoga. Russia also is home to the world’s deepest lake, Baikal, and the country recorded the world’s lowest temperature outside the North and South poles.
The inhabitants of Russia are quite diverse. Most are ethnic Russians, but there also are more than 120 other ethnic groups present, speaking many languages and following disparate religious and cultural traditions. Most of the Russian population is concentrated in the European portion of the country, especially in the fertile region surrounding Moscow, the capital. Moscow and St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) are the two most important cultural and financial centers in Russia and are among the most picturesque cities in the world. Russians are also populous in Asia, however; beginning in the 17th century, and particularly pronounced throughout much of the 20th century, a steady flow of ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking people moved eastward into Siberia, where cities such as Vladivostok and Irkutsk now flourish.
The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.
Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.
Program participants may live in a university dormitory or with a Russian host family. The majority of American Councils participants choose the host family option. All host families provide private rooms, telephone access, and keys for their American guests. Host families also provide two meals per day. Living with a host family immerses program participants in everyday Russian life, while offering some of the comforts of home. Host families also expose participants to authentic, contemporary language and culture in informal, social settings.
All host families are screened, selected, and monitored by American Councils home-stay coordinators and resident directors. Students may change their housing arrangements during the program, although these adjustments require some time to be completed.
If you do not have a passport, it is important that you apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. US citizens can find more information about how to apply for a passport on the US Department of State’s website.Important notice for students without a valid passport or whose passport will expire within the next 12 months:
US citizens can find more information about how to renew a passport on the US Department of State’s website.
Students without a valid passport should apply for a new passport or a passport renewal as early as possible.
Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months after your anticipated date of return to the US, you must renew your passport before applying for the visa you will need to enter your host country.
Expedited processing service is available for US passports (although this still takes several weeks and is at an additional cost). UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.
Students who are not US citizens should contact their consulate for more information if they need to get a new passport or renew their passport.
Students will work with their program provider to make travel arrangements to their program site. The cost of travel is not included in the course fee. UI Study Abroad will not arrange a group flight to your study abroad destination.
Do not purchase plane tickets until you have received instructions on how to do so from your program provider.
Within your host city and around the country, students will utilize public transportation such as buses and trains. Excursions and general travel require a lot of walking, so bring some comfortable shoes!
This program is open to all UI students who are in both good academic and also disciplinary standing. Applicants must also meet the minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.
Four semesters of college-level Russian.
It is the UI Study Abroad office's policy that all students who study abroad must be in both good academic standing and also good disciplinary standing. Students who, even after being accepted into a program, are put on either academic and/or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad.
In these cases, students must forfeit their acceptance and will NOT be allowed to study abroad. Any student who must forfeit their acceptance and/or attendance on a study abroad program due to a probationary status is wholly responsible for any and all financial expenses incurred.
There is a $50 UI non-refundable application fee. Students will pay the AC program fee, Study Abroad administrative fees, and will be enrolled in Iowa Regents international health insurance.
The program fee includes tuition and fees, housing, and on-site support services as well as pre-departure services. Expected additional costs include but are not limited to: meals, local transportation, airfare, personal expenses, visa fees, and textbooks.
The program cost sheet outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. Cost sheets include fees charged on students’ U-Bills, as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Housing charges may vary, depending on options chosen. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.
The cost sheet includes the Study Abroad Administrative Fee and Mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance. Please see the respective web sites for further details. If the fee is inclusive of UI tuition, it is calculated by Current Tuition. Please contact your study abroad advisor with questions regarding this cost sheet – call 319-335-0353 to schedule an appointment.
Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Check with your specific provider/host university for details. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.
Optional fees vary by session, and will be available shortly before the upcoming session.
Costs for personal travel are not included in the cost estimates provided on the cost sheet. If you plan to travel outside of your host city or country during or after your study abroad program, you will need to budget for additional funds to cover the cost of your personal travel.
The cost of personal travel depends entirely on each student’s individual travel plans and spending habits. Estimates for personal travel costs provided by past students on this program vary significantly from $1,500 to as much as $9,000 or more per session.
Note: This program is not running during the 2023 calendar year.
Spring: September 27
Fall/Academic Year: March 15
Summer: March 15
In addition to submitting their Confirmation of Participation form, students should review the following:Health Preparation Guide for International Travel form with their medical practitioner. This document is intended to help you plan for your medical needs abroad. Please DO NOT turn this form in to UI Study Abroad.
For more information about receiving financial aid while studying abroad, please review the following:UI Financial Aid Information
You can find more information about options for funding your study abroad experience including scholarships on Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad.
In addition, take a look at American Councils Scholarship website for information about scholarships offered directly through your program provider.
U.S. passport holders should follow the Visa batch process instructions provided by AC. Make sure to submit all required documents by the submission deadline. Otherwise you will have to apply for your student visa independently.
U.S. Citizens will need a student visa if they are going abroad for a semester, or academic year. Typically, they will not need a visa for the summer sessions.
Non-US Citizens- should refer to the Russian Visa website for more information on Russian visa requirements.
UI Study Abroad will hold advising appointments and/or information sessions to provide details on the visa application process. UI Study Abroad staff can provide some assistance on the Russian visa application process, but ultimately the individual traveler (the student) is the person who is responsible for providing correct information on the visa application and securing the visa and all other required documentation prior to travel.
Prior to starting the visa application process check in with AC for more information; they have a preferred timeline that students need to follow.
In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.
You are required to complete the International Programs ICON course "Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation" prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals, and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.
All AC participants attend a pre-departure orientation in Washington, D.C. at the start of their program. Orientation sessions address health and safety, Russian academic culture, host family life, culture shock, strategies to maximize language gain, and key survival phrases in Russian. Participants have a chance to meet and get to know their resident directors, fellow participants, and AC alumni during the two-day program. Students are housed in three-person rooms in a downtown hotel—a short walk from the American Councils Washington office. Participants depart for Russia from Washington, D.C. at the end of the orientation. Lodging and meals are provided.
AC will provide you with a variety of pre-departure resources to prepare you for your study abroad experience. These will include a packing list, cultural information, housing instructions, etc. Ensure that you thoroughly review any information provided to you by AC and refer back to it if you have any questions.
These materials may be periodically updated to reflect new program information prior to departure. Be sure to check your AC Account often.
There are no photos available for this program yet. Do you have any photos to share with us? If you do, please contact us at:
1111 University Capitol Centre
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1802
Phone: (319) 335-0353
Fax: (319) 335-0343