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CIEE Russian Language in St. Petersburg, Russia
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CIEE Russian Language in St. Petersburg, Russia

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Changed the course of my life

I spent Spring 2016 in St. Petersburg, Russia and it changed the course of my life. I had such a wonderful experience that I have decided to go back to teach English once I graduate university. So you start off with a two-day orientation in SpB before you meet your host parents, in which the staff teaches you everything you need to start with. Then you meet your host parents and go home with them and get settled and to be honest, nobody tops my host family. I asked for a family that spoke no English so I could immerse myself in the language and it was amazing. I became such good friends with my host parents that I still talk to them to this day, a year later. This program provides you an immersion in Russian language; my skills SOARED here. In class, you only use Russian so your grammar, phonetics, and conversation skills get so much better. And every week the staff offers you so much to do. Every weekend there's a new museum to visit; they also planned pub quizzes, ice skating, and trips to the banya. I was never bored there and I always felt immersed in Russian culture. One of the highlights was the spring ball they host. It's so much fun because you get to dress up like a princess (or prince) and they provide you with ballroom dance lessons and you get to have such a wonderful time. I got to host the ball and it was just so much fun. And the Russian friends I made are AMAZING. CIEE staff there provide you with what they call "Russian buddies" who are so eager to befriend Americans and all you have to do is talk to them and ask them to hang out and soon enough they'll be showing you all the coolest hookah bars or the best place to get your nails done. To this day, I still talk to two of my closest Russian friends that I met through this program. There are also plenty of opportunities to explore countries nearby. I went to Estonia, Latvia, Amsterdam, and even Croatia on my spring break. All in all this program was one of the best four months of my life and it changed me for the better and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn Russian or about Russian culture. My suggestions for getting the most out of it:
1) (If your Russian is good enough or you want to test yourself) Ask for a host family that doesn't speak English
2) Make the first move and invite Russians to hang out, you never know who might become your new best friend and this will be how you get the best experience.
3) Do not be afraid to speak Russian because your "grammar isn't perfect"; Russians just appreciate that you try and just trying to speak more will advance your language skills so much more.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    N/A

  • Community

    N/A

4 months academic program. Opportunities...

4 months academic program. Opportunities for travel to neighboring countries. Excellent instructors and cultural opportunities. Home stay encouraged.

Overall Rating

6/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    3

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    N/A

  • Community

    N/A

Very worthwile, but spoke a lot of English

CIEE SbB was a great experience, overall. I learned so much about the differences between American and Russian culture, life and language. I was satisfied w/ the academics and learned a lot about the language which was my purpose. One downside was that I spoke a lot of English. As a Russian major, I wish I would've spoken more Russian. Other than that the immersion was great. If you're not a Russian major CIEE offers a program for you, too. On that there are many excursions and cultural experiences. Very worthwhile.