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SIT's Russia: Ethnic and Cultural Studies program offers a unique view of Russia and its multicultural society, which exists within a nation that spans two continents.

The program appeals to a wide range of students because in addition to language study, there are unparalleled opportunities to explore Russia's fascinating ethnic diversity and the ways these differing cultures interact and affect the country as a whole. 




One of Russia's main cultural, political, and historic centers St. Petersburg is a


  • city of haunting magnificence, bearing witness to massive social change in recent decades. The program's initial base, St. Petersburg, provides avenues for students to explore Russian ties to Europe, and the relationships it has with its Western neighbors. From here, students cross the country (and many, many time zones) to reach the southeastern region of Siberia.


  • The name Siberia comes from the Mongol siber ("beautiful," "wonderful," "pure") and the Tartar siber, meaning "sleepy land." The heart of this "beautiful sleepy land" is Lake Baikal, known as the pearl of Russia. It is the largest and deepest freshwater reservoir in the world with a unique ecosystem of flora and fauna. Students are based in beautiful Irkutsk, a major cultural center and crossroads for the outlying areas of Buryatia, Tuva, Mongolia and China.


  • A major stop on the Trans-Siberian railroad, Irkutsk has historically been a haven for exiles fleeing from political and cultural persecution. From Tibetan Buddhists to Mongols, from cosmopolitan Europeans to nomadic herdsmen, the area boasts more than 31 different ethnic groups and numerous languages and religious groups such as the pre-Orthodox Old Believers and practitioners of Shamanism.

    Program Highlights

    • Ethnic and Cultural Studies Seminar
    • Three unique homestays in St. Petersburg, Irkutsk and in either the Republic of Buryatia or Tuva
    • Excursions to Moscow, Karelia, Lake Baikal, Buddhist temple complex at Ivolginsk
    • Russian language study with a focus on oral skills
    • Field Study Seminar: including cross-cultural adaptation skills, ethics of fieldwork
    • Independent Study Project
    • 16 undergraduate credits
     
 

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