Students are encouraged to study abroad, usually in their junior year, choosing from a broad selection of programs approved by the International & Off-Campus Study Office.
Each foreign language department offers one summer stipend to a student for completing a project or course of study in a foreign country after sophomore year. In addition to this departmental scholarship, Russian students compete in alternate years for the Russell Summer Travel Stipend, which enables one student to travel to Russia.
The following are stories from some of our students who have studied abroad. Read on to find out more about their adventures!
Brian Kingan, '11 has returned from studing abroad in St. Petersburg. Read his blog about his experiences in St. Petersburg and his other travels in Russia.
Michael Kreisbuch, '10, studied in St. Petersburg through the Bard-Smol'ny Program, a joint venture between Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY and St. Petersburg State University, during the spring 2009 semester. He writes:
I had originally intended to regard my study there as secondary, hoping to do more research for a project the following year at F&M, but as soon as I got there my priorities changed. I spent hours wandering through the cities, getting lost, taking pictures, and learning. Through the Smol'ny program I was lucky enough to be able to take courses with Russian students and lived with them in the dormitories. I immersed myself.
Two months later, it seems very hard to believe I was actually there. If I think about it I remember my experiences in flashes: trying to balance on the metro, accidentally taking the wrong trolleybus and having to walk halfway back across St. Petersburg in beautiful May weather, the market at Izmailova where I had some of the best grapes I've ever tasted... For me, the hardest part about living in Russia was knowing that I would eventually have to leave.
Edward McCall, '09, is a recipient of the Russell Award for Summer Russian Studies. He writes:
During the summer of 2007, I studied through the University of Arizona's Russian Abroad program. At the Smolny Institute in St. Petersburg I attended class from the end of May through June, where the curriculum included reading and translating articles from the St. Petersburg Vedomosti. I count Daniil Kharms among my favorite poets and, through Smolny, I was able to expand my interest in poetry. In July, I continued my studies at the Grint center in Moscow. During my time abroad, the program organized numerous events and opportunities to learn about Russian culture, including trips to the symphony, the ballet, the medieval cities of Suzdal and Novgorod, as well as Yasnaya Polyana – home of Leo Tolstoy.
Colleen Martin, '02, is a recipient of the Russell Award for Summer Russian Studies. She studied in Vladimir, Russia in summer 2000 & in Moscow in spring 2001. She attended writers’ seminar in St. Petersbrg in summer 2002. She writes:
"My story is as follows: for some unknown reason I started studying Russian my freshman year at F&M. I heard it was difficult, and so didn't want to commit to anything....I was bombarded by impressions of Russia, past and present, and fell in love...The following year at F&M, I plotted how I could get myself [to Russia]....I applied for and received the Russell Fellowship from the Russian Department at F&M; with this stipend I was able to travel to and study in Vladimir, a small Russian city slightly northeast of Moscow... This brief introduction to Russia helped me better understand what I was learning back home....[then,] I planned to go to Russia in the spring of my junior year. And here I am.
It's hard to explain, but from the very start, I loved everything about Moscow. I entered a Winter Wonderland....Moscow is huge, busy, and beautiful. Even among those who live here, it is said that Moscow is a completely different world than the rest of Russia...it has so much to offer to all kinds of people. Part of its magic is that it can be anything to all people...Especially as a foreigner and having limited connections, you must actively create your own life here. This type of foreign environment also taught me to be a bit stronger; to say what I want in order to get what I want. That sounds simple, but I know I'm not the only one not always willing to stick up for myself. Living in Moscow has been such an incredible experience; though I am here studying, it is a much more realistic view of "the real world" than what you find on a sheltered college campus."