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This is the program brochure page.
Program Description


CIEE St. Petersburg 6

CIEE St. Petersburg 3

Photo's courtesy of CIEE


Did you know that about 170 million people speak Russian as a first language, and it’s the second language of another 100 million? It’s a challenging language to learn, but CIEE’s Russian Language program will get you there – fast. Via rigorous coursework, homestays with local families, peer language partners, field trips and excursions, other extracurricular activities, and volunteering, you’ll improve your command of Russian in and around one of the world’s most culturally and historically rich cities. Study abroad in St. Petersburg and you’ll:

  • Take part in the longest-running study abroad program in Russia in magnificent St. Petersburg where the entire downtown is a protected UNESCO World Heritage site. This UNESCO site doesn’t simply include one building; it encompasses a whole central area of the city (totaling 10,000 acres), with its palaces, monuments, museums, cathedrals, and everything’s in the vicinity of the above: bookstores, business centers, shops and even the residential areas
  • Live with a local Russian host family for maximum linguistic and cultural immersion
  • Participate in optional volunteering projects and have the option to participate in the CIEE Alternative Break volunteer trip, all organized through a well-developed network of contacts St. Petersburg and other Russian cities that facilitate integration into Russian society
  • Participate in local excursions, field trips to Moscow and various other Russian cities, and participate in exclusive tours and performances
  • Become a member of a unique alumni network of remarkable individuals who have studied in St. Petersburg since the opening of the Study Center in 1967
  • Succcessful completion of at least four semesters of Russian language instruction is required for all participants.
  • Due to the length of the Russian visa process, CIEE requires students to have a valid passport in order to be accepted. Russian immigration requires that this passport is valid for 18 months beyond the end date of the program.


CIEE St. Petersburg 2

Photo courtesy of CIEE


Location Details

About St. Petersburg
Envisioned by Peter the Great as the “Window to the West” and created by French and Italian architects, St. Petersburg became a testimony to opulence with golden palaces, pastel-colored mansions, and landscaped parks, gardens, and canals. Having endured the horrors of World War II and Stalinist repression, the people now cope with a new political and economic reality. Known as Leningrad from 1924 to 1991, the city of nearly five million is easily navigated by foot, bus, trolley, and an efficient metro system.

Cultural Activities and Field Trips
The academic study abroad program is supplemented with excursions, tours, and field trips. All excursions for RAS students are conducted in English.

Required program excursions in previous semesters have included a bus city tour, the Hermitage, the Peter and Paul Fortress, and a trip to Peterhof. Optional excursions organized by CIEE include Russian Museum, Yusupov Palace, a walking tour of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Pushkin’s Apartment Museum, Lenin's Apartment Museum, and the Baltika Brewery. In previous semesters, CIEE arranged an evening at the ballet, group cooking classes in Russian and Georgian cuisine, visits to the Russian bathhouse (banya), and group tickets to hockey and soccer games. Most optional excursions are scheduled for weekends.

The program offers two overnight field trips that take place on the weekend each semester—Moscow and other regional destinations such as the Pskov region, Veliky Novgorod, or Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan Republic. These trips include excursions to places of educational, cultural, and historic significance, while still allowing some time for you to explore the sites on your own. This experience will provide you with the wonderful insight into the diversity and everyday life of modern Russia.

In addition, you will have a chance to explore more new areas during the independent Russian Travel Week. Students travel independently and the cost of this travel is not included in the program fee. In past semesters students have visited the ring of ancient Russian towns surrounding Moscow known as the Golden Ring, camped near Lake Baikal, explored further parts of the country, such as Murmansk or Vladivostok, took in the sites of the Olympic city of Sochi, and relaxed on the shores of the Black Sea. During the Russian Travel Week, another opportunity to discover a new layer of Russian life and culture is CIEE’s Alternative Break program. This program is designed to encourage students to volunteer and make a difference by participating in community service projects based in smaller Russian towns. Alternative Break locations vary every semester, and some of the destinations chosen by CIEE in the past included Arkhangelsk, Cheboksary, Kirov, Nizhny Novgorod, and Tula.

Visa Information

U.S. citizens will require a visa* in order to participate in this program. Limited information about the visa application process may be provided by the ASU Study Abroad Office and/or CIEE, but it is your sole responsibility to research, apply, and secure a visa. Failure to obtain a visa may result in your inability to participate and, ultimately, your withdrawal from the program, subject to the terms of the Study Abroad Withdrawal Policy

Consult this page for additional information regarding visas. If you need assistance securing a U.S. Passport, visit the ASU U.S. Passport Acceptance Office in Tempe.

PLEASE NOTE: Visa requirements for non U.S. citizens may differ from those for U.S. citizens; students who are not U.S. citizens are advised to contact their International Coordinator and begin independently researching the visa requirements for their nationality as soon as possible.

*At the time of writing. This information is subject to change without notice; students should independently confirm this requirement with the relevant consulate/embassy.


Academic Program & Courses

Where You'll Study - St. Petersburg State University
Founded in the 18th century, St. Petersburg State University is one of Russia’s leading institutions of higher education. The campus has expanded from its original site on the Neva River, and now includes over 400 buildings around the city center and expanding out to the suburbs of the city. CIEE students study at the university’s stunning Smolny campus on the very territory on which the renowned school for noble ladies was founded in 1764. It’s in a quiet neighborhood on the east side of downtown St. Petersburg.

All Russian Language program students take the Russian language courses grammar, phonetics, and conversation, and two elective courses taught strictly in Russian. Participants are placed at the appropriate language level based on language testing conducted at the beginning of the program. In their second semester, academic year-long students take courses in grammar, conversation, and advanced translation, and one elective.

The Russian Language program is offered in both the fall and spring semesters and includes in-class language study at St. Petersburg State University, and excursions and field trips conducted in Russian to other Russian cities. In addition to the academic program, previous semesters have included a series of enthralling guest lectures on a wide range of topics such as the genesis of Russian Rock music to the phenomenon of the Soviet space dogs. Each lecture, brought to us by a well-known specialist, was another unmissable opportunity to learn something new about Russian culture and history.

Academic Program
Students attend classes five days a week with one afternoon reserved for cultural activities. Grammar and conversation courses meet three times a week; phonetics and the elective courses meet twice each week. Classes are 90 minutes in length.

All courses are taught in Russian. Students are grouped by language level based on the results of a placement test. Class size ranges from seven to 10 students for core language courses. Language instructors use language textbooks published in Russia. In-class participation often accounts for a large percentage of students’ grades as Russian teaching methodology emphasizes in-class learning.

Participants take classes with other CIEE study abroad students only and not with Russian students. Upon approval from CIEE resident staff and local faculty members, students may audit additional classes (taught in Russian) at the School of Political Science, St. Petersburg State University.

Students complete 17 credits per semester.

Course contact hours for CIEE area studies courses are 45 hours and credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours per course. Course contact hours for CIEE language courses are 84 hours and credit is 4 semester/ 6 quarter hours.per course, unless otherwise indicated.

CIEE St. Petersburg 1

CIEE St. Petersburg 7
Photo's courtesy of CIEE


CIEE St. Petersburg 5

Photo courtesy of CIEE

Program Housing

Housing and Meals

All study abroad students have the option to live in Russian homestays. Participants have their own room in a Russian family’s private apartment. Housing and most meals (two meals daily and three on weekends) are included in the program fee. Students are responsible for weekday lunches. The university cafeteria offers very reasonably priced meals.

CIEE also offers a limited number of rooms at a hostel in downtown St. Petersburg. The hostel is located within a 5-minute walk of Nevskiy Prospekt and a 20-minute bus to the CIEE Study Center. Students are placed in single-occupancy rooms.


You are encouraged to bring a wireless-enabled laptop. The homestays have either wi-fi or Ethernet access to the internet; at the same time, free wireless is available at the CIEE Study Center. Wireless internet is also available through local cell phone providers, 4G and LTE internet providers, and many cafés throughout St. Petersburg.

Special Considerations

Below you will find information that may help you in planning for your study abroad experience. Early discussions and planning can help to support you in having a positive experience abroad. We invite you to meet with the International Coordinator for this program to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Physical Considerations

Study abroad participants may find themselves walking or taking public transit abroad more frequently than they are accustomed at their home campus.

Disability Accommodations Abroad

Individuals with disabilities can and do study abroad, but may find accessibility and accommodation in one of more of this program’s locations very different from the United States. For example, in Russia, access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites cannot be guaranteed and getting around in Russia is often difficult for persons with mobility issues. In general, public transportation is not accommodating to people with disabilities..

In general, the Study Abroad Office cannot guarantee access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites on this program. Any student who anticipates needing any kind of special accommodation due to a disability should contact the ASU Study Abroad Office early in the planning process to investigate the availability of accommodations (including accessible facilities) on this specific program. Contact Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services and your Disability Access Consultant to include them in the discussion; be sure to give your Disability Access Consultant permission to speak with the Study Abroad Office on your behalf. You can find additional information and resources on our Students with Disabilities page.

LGBTQIA Students Abroad

Students of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities will find that the social climate, laws, and norms of other cultures will often differ from the U.S. If you identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer student - or if you are still exploring your identity - you may face unique challenges when traveling abroad. For example, in Russia, discrimination towards LGBTQIA individuals can and does occur and students may find local police to lack meaningful response to incidents. Public displays of affection between same-sex individuals can evoke stereotyping and comments from passersby. There are no laws enacted that protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In fact, Russian law treats outward displays of LGBTQ+ sentiment or action as a form of propaganda that can be legally prosecuted (punishable by fines, up to 15 days in jail, and deportation).

We encourage students who identify as members of the LGBTQIA community to visit the U.S. Department of State website for helpful information about laws and attitudes in this program’s locations, including pre-travel tips and advice on staying safe while abroad. You can find additional information and resources on our LGBTQIA Students page.

Gender Identity Abroad

When traveling abroad, you may find different gender roles and norms than you’re used to. It’s possible that you may be treated differently or be expected to treat others differently based on your (or their) gender identity. 

You can find additional information and resources on our Gender Identity Abroad page.

Racial and Ethnic Minorities Abroad

Students of different ethnic and racial backgrounds may encounter unique challenges transitioning from life here in the United States to life as a student living abroad, including but not limited to access to personal care products and services. For example, in Russia, racism can be prevalent in some areas and towards specific minority and ethnic groups. Many foreigners of Asian and African descent have been victims of harassment, attacks and discrimination.

You can prepare yourself for the situations you may experience by researching the ethnic composition of your host country and exploring its history of racial and ethnic relations. We encourage students to start that research on our Racial and Ethnic Minority Students page.


Cost Information

Partnership program participants will NOT pay ASU tuition for the courses completed abroad.  Instead, participants will pay a Program Fee as a condition of participation. Partnership program participants are also responsible for paying a non-refundable $50 Application Fee, in addition to the published Program Fee. All other costs associated with participation in the program are the responsibility of the individual student. Be sure to reference the fall semester cost sheetspring semester cost sheet, or academic year cost sheet for information on program fees and any additional estimated expenses.

The program may allow for time which can be spent in non-program activities. Participants may wish to travel, sightsee or participate in activities or events in which they have a personal interest. Please note that the participant is fully responsible for making arrangements and for all costs of transportation, lodging, food and additional expenses that may be associated with any non-Program activities.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Full-year participants on this program are may apply for the CIEE LIFT scholarship for intenisve language study. For more information click here.
Please see Financing Your Study Abroad Program for detailed information about financial aid and scholarships.


Funding Your Study Abroad Program

Studying abroad is an investment in your future, which requires careful planning and management. However, the personal, academic, and professional rewards that you will gain from this experience will last a lifetime. You should carefully consider costs, budgets and financing when selecting and preparing for your experience abroad. If you have questions at any step of the process, we encourage you to reach out to your International Coordinator for guidance.

Steps to Financing Your Study Abroad Program

  1. Review the Considering Costs Table for a general overview and cost comparison of popular programs.
  2. Be sure to reference the Fall Semester Cost SheetSpring Semester Cost Sheet, or Academic Year Cost Sheet to find a breakdown of program expenses.
  3. Attend a Financing Your Study Abroad Workshop.
  4. Consider your Financial Aid options.
  5. Search and Apply for Scholarships and Grants.
  6. Exhaust your options by exploring Additional Funding Resources including our Community-Based Funding Guide.
  7. View our  Financing Your Study Abroad Program Handbook for more information, including Payment Information.

Unique Funding Opportunities for This Program



Dates & Deadlines
Dates & Deadlines
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Semester 2022 10/15/2021 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA
NOTE: Dates are subject to change. Do not purchase airfare until dates are confirmed by the Study Abroad Office and/or in any host institution acceptance materials.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision tasks prior to the term's application deadline.