Russian Area Studies
Though occupying more territory than any other nation, Russia has traditionally been opaque to the outsider. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has been open to the rest of the world as never before. Its cultural heritage dating back a thousand years is reviving and evolving further and has become easily accessible. Russia is also a society with enormous potential undergoing rapid and radical change. For all these reasons, students must be prepared to understand and interact with Russia on many levels.
The RAS Program has been designed to provide the theoretical and practical background needed for either post-graduate study in a number of fields or for successful pursuit of a career immediately upon graduation. Most RAS majors study for at least one term in Russia, mainly in St. Petersburg or Moscow.
Why Study Russian at W&L?
Want an exciting course of study? We run a vibrant program with small classes offering plenty of one-on-one attention.
Looking for a fascinating extracurricular activity? We offer Russian Theater, Culture Fridays, movie nights, guest speakers, and journalism projects in Russian.
Curious about politics? In this case, you are certainly aware of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, their exploits in Syria, and the Mueller investigation. Russia will be a serious political player for the foreseeable future.
Thinking of a career in international law? Russia’s troubled history when it comes to human rights and international treaties on the conduct of war and trade will be of interest, and knowledge of the Russian language will be of use.
Interested in economics? Russia, as a major world supplier of gas and oil, will pique your interest.
Do you love art and literature? Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, Chekhov and Nabokov will forever shine above political and historical turmoil. Avant-garde artists and filmmakers in early 20th century Russia are still undeniably, inspirationally cool.
Looking for interesting people and conversation? We hold regular conversational tables with native Russian-language teaching assistants. Our faculty and native instructors, guest lecturers, and students are an exciting bunch!
Opportunities for Students
- The U.S. State Department: Critical Languages Scholarships for summer study in Russia. The program is fully funded including travel, a room with a host family, and three meals a day.
- American Councils for International Education: Russian Flagship Overseas Program, funded by the United States government
- Boren Scholarship (Study Abroad, U.S. Government Service Requirement)
- Gilman International Scholarship (Study Abroad, Pell Grant-Eligible Students)
- W&L's Russian Program partners with the College of William & Mary for the six-week summer language intensive in St. Petersburg.
- The Bard-Smolny Study Abroad Program offers students a year of study at the Smolny Institute in St. Petersburg. Students directly matriculate and take classes with Russian professors and Russian students.
Graduates can pursue varied careers in areas such as international journalism, business, law, nonprofit work, film and Slavic studies.
The Russian Area Studies Program provides vital scholarship support for prestigious programs like the Fulbright research or teaching assistantship program.