Program Information

Зачем изучать русский язык? Why study Russian? Learning Russian opens doors to careers in business, government, social services, education, journalism and more. (Look at what our alums are doing!) It is also the key to understanding one of the world’s most important and fascinating nations, straddling Europe and Asia. Russian is the language of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, Chekhov and Tchaikovsky, Kandinsky and Eisenstein.

Russian is spoken as a primary language by some 164 million people and as a secondary language by 114 million people. It is also the lingua franca in most republics of the former Soviet Union and much of Eastern Europe. As one of the five official languages of the UN, Russian is also on the US government’s list of “strategic” languages, due to a shortage of US specialists in the language and geographic area. In addition, Russian is the third most commonly spoken language in Oregon, after English and Spanish, due to a huge influx of immigration from Russia and the former Soviet republics. Russian is a valuable language to learn, and a fascinating culture to study.

The Russian program at Lewis & Clark College offers a Russian minor and coursework for the World Languages Major, in which Russian can be a primary or secondary language. Motivated students can self-design a Russian major. Russian language courses are offered at all levels. You’ll also find courses on Russian literature and culture—students with no knowledge of Russian can study the works of Pushkin, Gogol, and Turgenev, while advanced students will find challenging courses to increase their fluency.

And while the coursework is varied and engaging, nothing beats the chance to go abroad and experience the language and culture up close and personally. We strongly encourage students to pursue study abroad opportunities offered by Lewis & Clark in Saint Petersburg (often called Russia’s most European city) or Vladivostok (the Russian Far East)—the chance to learn a new culture firsthand is an amazing opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.