Study Abroad in a Slavic Country
Time spent studying abroad will prove invaluable for students of Slavic languages. The benefits of a stay in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Prague, Cracow, or another East or Central European city are not strictly limited to increased language proficiency. Direct contact with the people and culture can be one of the most invigorating personal and intellectual experiences of a lifetime.
Participation in a summer or semester study abroad program is highly encouraged for all students of Slavic languages, particularly for Slavic concentrators. Although study abroad is neither required nor expected for the concentration, the faculty strongly promote study abroad because it has proven to be an extraordinarily enriching experience for so many students.
The number and variety of educational programs in the former Soviet Union and Central and East Europe have expanded dramatically in recent years. In order to receive credit for study abroad, students must participate in an approved program. Basic information about the long-established, high-quality programs is provided below. Please contact the programs directly for current information.
Preparation for Study Abroad
Although the Slavic languages pose many challenges for speakers of English, students who experience a rigorous university program of study can achieve a very high level of fluency and language proficiency by the time of graduation, especially if they participate in a well-timed summer or semester study abroad program. There is a great deal to be learned here in the classroom, however, and students are advised to discuss their future study abroad plans with Steven Clancy, the Director of the Slavic Language Program even as early as their first year of study. If the timing of your study abroad is maximally flexible, it is advised that students complete as much language study here as possible before going abroad. Ideally, students would have three years of college-level study before traveling to a Slavic-speaking country. If this is not feasible, students should at least complete two years of Slavic language study before going abroad in order to maximally benefit from their language study in a Slavic-speaking country.
Further Information and Funding Opportunities
More information about Study Abroad is also available at Harvard's Office of International Education web site. In addition, study abroad advisers at the Office of International Education hold "study abroad drop-in hours" every weekday, between 2pm and 4pm. The Office of International Education is located at 77 Dunster Street.
For information about funding for study abroad, please review the "Summer Funding" page at the Office of Career Services web site. Financial aid is available for most if not all of these programs, and any financial aid you receive from Harvard may be applied toward a semester or academic year program. Consult the Office of International Education (OIE) for details: 496-2722.
In addition, selected Harvard grants can also be used to defray the costs of a study abroad program. For example, female students may apply for either the Isabel L. Briggs Travelling Fellowship or one of the Josephine Murray Travelling Fellowships. For more information on these and other available grants consult the current on-line Harvard College Guide to Grants.
Each year in late October or early November the Department conducts an informal informational meeting for students interested in Summer Language and Study Abroad programs together with representatives of programs in Russia and the Harvard Summer programs in Prague and Tbilisi. Questions concerning all aspects of off-campus study are entertained at this meeting. In addition, strategies for application to these programs are outlined by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), the Director of the Language Program, and former participants and leaders.
Study Abroad and Transfer Credits
Students who spend a semester studying abroad should consult with the DUS to determine which courses abroad will count for which concentration credits. In general, most students who receive credit for two half-courses in Russia will be exempted from one semester of junior tutorial and one of their departmental electives, at the DUS’s discretion. Except in unusual circumstances, credit for the survey course will not be given for study abroad.
In general full semester concentration credit (i.e. 2 full courses) is granted to students who earn adequate grades during a semester of study in an approved program. Those who successfully complete a summer will receive half-semester concentration credit (i.e. 1 full course).
For other questions regarding credit, please see the Director of Undergraduate Studies. For questions regarding Study Abroad Programs, please see the Director of the Language Program and the Study Abroad Advisor for the Slavic Department.
Please remember that it is absolutely imperative that credit approval be sought at OIE and with the Director of Undergraduate Studies BEFORE participation in any program!
The major study programs for which Harvard gives credit are listed below. Contact the program directly for up-to-date information about dates, fees, and deadlines. Information on other study and touring programs is also available the OIP.
- ACTR: (American Council of Teachers of Russian) [One of the oldest and most established programs of study in Russia with a new variety of specialty programs for students with different interests.]
- CIEE: (Council on International Educational Exchange) [One of the oldest and most established programs of study in Russia.]
- Bard/Smolny Institute through Bard College [1) summer study abroad program; 2) unique semester or academic-year program that offers students the opportunity to enroll in Russia's only liberal arts-style college and take courses in Russian alongside Russian students.]
Summer Language Study in the U.S.
Some concentrators opt to supplement their language instruction at Harvard with specialized training during the summer in the United States. Aside from standard summer school courses, some colleges and universities offer immersion programs. Students in these programs are required not only to take intensive courses, but also to speak Russian outside of class: at meals, in the dorms, on campus. Though no additional credit is offered to participants in immersion programs, many students find that the rewards are worth the extra effort and commitment.
Credit for summer school in the U.S. is offered according to the same guidelines as those for study abroad. The student must be enrolled in an approved program and, upon successful completion, will receive half-semester concentration credit (i.e. 1 full course). Again, any student who wishes to receive credit for work completed during the summer must have the approval of OIP and the Director of Undergraduate Studies BEFORE participation in any program.
Some approved immersion programs include: