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Russian Language School

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Best place for study russian language!!!

I had a fantastic experience in Derzhavin Institute. i took a standard group course + intensive course. Despite of little time spent there (only two weeks) i can confidently say that my level of russian has improved. i was really impressed by friendly atmosphere and by high professionalism of all staff. In this international system you can meet people from all over the world! The institute is localized in good position, very close to metro station and center city. Highly recommended!!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Work and Study at the Derzhavin Institute

At the time of writing I am currently one month into my three month stay at the Derzhavin Institute. It’s not my first time here; last year, in 2015, I studied at Derzhavin for 2 weeks during the summer. The course was then, as it is now, absolutely fantastic. The Institute is fairly small in comparison to large universities like SpbGU, but this means that class sizes are also smaller and the lessons themselves leave more opportunities for individual questions and feedback.

The teaching staff are excellent. A real effort is made to make lessons and their topics interesting and engaging. Beyond that, even though lessons are taught exclusively in Russian, the teachers go to great lengths to explain things and to ensure that everyone understands everything, so hardly anyone ever feels out of their depth.

The administrative staff are just as good as the academic staff. They are very open to questions and reply quickly when it comes to communicating via email. They were a great help to me when it came to navigating the visa application process both times I visited the institute. Although I have not personally used the Institute’s accommodation services (I booked my own accommodation separately) I have heard nothing but good things about them. Those students I know of that have had any problems at all (for example, slow running Internet or noisy neighbours) have all mentioned how quickly these problems were resolved.

The staff do not simply perform their jobs well however, they are also, every one of them, a pleasure to be around. They are all incredibly friendly and easy to speak to regardless of whether you want to speak about your course, about Russian language, about the city or just to have a chat. It is a rare thing indeed to find anyone who isn’t in a good mood at Derzhavin and its hard not to enjoy studying in that kind of environment.

Another selling point of the Derzhavin Institute lies in its weekly programs of excursions and events. Every week the Institute offers a variety of different activities and trips for students. Some cost extra (although the amount you pay is often less than you would pay if you organised the same trip independently) but many are free. These include; tours around the city; painting, cooking and singing lessons; trips to famous sights such as Peterhof Palace and Tsarskoe Selo; visits to the theatre and even weekend breaks in Moscow.

Despite the high quality of teaching and social events, the Derzhavin Institute is very reasonable in terms of price. When I first decided to look for language courses in Russia I looked through a number of different alternatives but found Derzhavin’s prices to be amongst the most competitive. In fact the prices were so good that I was even somewhat sceptical before I arrived for my course the first time, the school however, exceeded all expectations, hence why I decided to return so soon after my first course.

My current course is a work/study course. I have normal lessons from 9:30am until 1pm and work as an intern from 2pm until 6pm. If you are looking for a longer term course I can’t recommend this option enough. My course lasts three months and my work pays for my course fees, so it’s a much cheaper option than paying for a normal three month course. At the same time my work gives me many opportunities to practice Russian outside of class. Firstly example I speak with other staff members in Russian as well as writing articles for the school in Russian.
All in all the work/study course is a fantastic, but affordable way to really immerse yourself in your language learning.

Finally, something needs to be said about the schools location, St Petersburg. Much can read about this city, its many different attractions and its cultural and architectural splendour so I’ll keep my contribution short. Simply put, St Petersburg is a truly beautiful city. It doesn’t matter whether your interest in Russian language is driven by interest in Russian literature, culture, history, or simply an interest in the Russian people, or find no shortage of locations, events and opportunities to inspire you here.
If you are considering studying Russian in Russia, I seriously suggest you take a look at the Derzhavin institute it will be well worth your time.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • The Campus

    8

  • Academics

    8

An excellent way to experience Petersburg

I stayed at the Institute for a month, taking part in their work study programme, and staying with a host family found through the institute. Overall I was very surprised and impressed with the quality of the teaching and the helpfulness its professors and coordinators. They provided immense help with the nightmarish Russian bureaucracy involved with getting into and staying in Russia, while very promptly and professionally responding to questions regarding the process.
The courses themselves were more or less exactly what I was looking for. They are taught entirely in Russian even from the lower levels and improved one’s overall language ability far more quickly than I can imagine would be possible with an intermediary language. There was a fair amount of coursework most of which was more or less helpful. Almost all of the work comes from the exercise book and (the only one required for the course) that students receive upon arrival based upon their level. It was monolingual clear and well written.
The Derzhavin Institute offers an excellent part time programme and a great language learning experience for a reasonable price with a flexible schedule and enrollment times. I would especially recommend it to serious students of the language looking for an effective short term way to make progress and gain greater command and understanding of the spoken language perhaps unavailable in their native counties.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    4

  • The Campus

    8

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

Smaller institute, little groups

I chose for the Derzhavin Institute, because it was a little bit smaller than the Petersburg State University, but still priced reasonably. I wanted long term (4 months) daily language courses.

It turned out it was a good chose. The greatest advantage of this school is that classes are relatively small. Outside the high season (June, July, August) there were on average 4 classmates, which enables your teacher to focus more on personal needs. It does make a great difference if there are 15 classmates or only 4 classmates and I saw my level advancing swiftly in the beginning.

I was also impressed by the administration. They take their responsibility for hosting foreigners. For administrative matters, they responded quickly and adequate (for things like invitation letters, registration card, questions about the stay, etc.). The prejudice about Russians being slow and bureaucratic doesn't fly for them. Also I felt save, because they help you with typical things that could happen to a foreigner. If someone had experiences with the local police, they recommend the school immediately so they will intervene.

A small downside would be that the difference in teaching differ greatly from teacher to teacher. Also, there are only a few moments throughout the course to give feedback, so if for the longer stay students it would be nicer to have some more moments.

Overall I would reckon that between the State University and the more expensive school, Derzhavin Institute has a fair quality/price ratio.