Russia: St. Petersburg

Program Snapshot
Semester: Fall, Spring, or Full Year
Offered: This program is currently on hiatus. For Russian Language programs, please see our Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, or Latvia options.
Estimated Dates:  Fall: early September to late December, Spring: late January to mid-May
Program Focus: Level I: Language and Regional Area Study
Level II: Intensive Language and Culture Study

Level I: Russian 102 with a 2.75 GPA
Level II: Russian 202 with a 3.0 GPA

Students must satisfy the Words and Numbers CORE requirement before participating in an overseas program.

Housing: Host Families
Campus Contact:
Maria Hristova
Assistant Professor of Russian, Russian Section Head, 503-768-7442

Program Design

In cooperation with the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE), Lewis & Clark offers this program at St. Petersburg State University. In addition to intensive language study, the program introduces students to the history, culture and contemporary issues of Russia.  Post-arrival orientation initiates near St. Petersburg where students begin their study program.

Envisioned by Peter the Great as the “Window to the West” in 1703 and created by French and Italian architects, St. Petersburg became a testimony to opulence with golden palaces, pastel-colored mansions, and landscaped parks, gardens, and canals. Other nicknames share the spirit of electrifying city: Paris of the East, City of the Czars, and City of Three Revolutions. Having endured the horrors of World War II and Stalinist repression, the people now cope with a new political and economic reality. St. Petersburg is considered the cultural capital and most westernized city of Russia. Today the city of nearly five million is easily navigated by foot, bus, trolley, and an efficient metro system.

Onsite Staff: The Center Director for CIEE St. Petersburg is Irina Makoveeva. A native of Moscow, Irina received her master’s degree in Russian philology and comparative linguistics from the Moscow Lomonosov State University and her doctorate degree in Slavic and film studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Throughout her long academic career, she designed and taught courses on Russian literature, culture, cinema, and all levels of Russian language at such schools as Moscow State Mining University, the Moscow Lomonosov State University, Virginia Tech, the University of Pittsburgh, and Vanderbilt University. Her publications focus on the popular culture adaptations of literary canonical texts, Soviet and post-Soviet culture, and women’s cinema. In her current position as the Director of CIEE Study Centers in Russia, she strives to continuously expand the center’s course offerings and enrollment. In her free time Irina enjoys skiing, opera, films, and The New Yorker.

*Please note: This program is currently on hiatus. 


Founded in the 18th century, St. Petersburg State University is one of Russia’s leading institutions of higher education. The campus has expanded from its original site on the Neva River, and now includes over 400 buildings around the city center and expanding out to the suburbs of the city. CIEE students study at the university’s stunning Smolny campus on the very territory on which the renowned school for noble ladies was founded in 1764. Students take classes taught by faculty from St. Petersburg State University with other CIEE study abroad students only.

Requirements Fulfilled:

General Education - This program fulfills the Global Perspectives general education requirement for students who successfully complete 8 or more semester credits.

Level I: Students who complete Russian 201 fulfill the World Language proficiency general education requirement.

Major / Minor Requirements - Level II fulfills the overseas study requirement for the World Languages major with Russian as the primary language. Select Level II courses may be applied to the Russian minor.

Credits: 16 or 17 credits (4 or 5 courses)

Curriculum: At the start of the program, students take a language evaluation and are placed into language classes based on their level. Students at the intermediate level are placed into the Russian Area Studies Program (Level I), and students who have completed at least one language course beyond the intermediate level are placed into the Russian Language Program (Level II). The program that students are placed into determines the courses they will take during the semester.

Level I: Two Russian language courses (Russ 201-202) and three Russian history/culture courses in English (OS 325). A sampling of the courses and course descriptions are available on the CIEE St. Petersburg Russian Area Studies program page under the Academics tab.

Level II: all courses are taught in Russian (Russ 215-216 and OS 325): Russian conversation, grammar, phonetics, culture and civilization. A sampling of the courses and course descriptions are available on the CIEE St. Petersburg Russian Language program page under the Academics tab.

Excursions: Required program excursions in previous semesters have included a bus city tour, the Hermitage, the Peter and Paul Fortress, and a trip to Peterhof. Optional excursions organized by CIEE include visits to the Russian Museum, Yusupov Palace, Pushkin’s Apartment Museum, Lenin’s Apartment Museum, the Baltika Brewery, and a walking tour of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. In previous semesters, CIEE arranged an evening at the ballet, group cooking classes in Russian and Georgian cuisine, visits to the Russian bathhouse (banya), and group tickets to hockey and soccer games.

The program includes two overnight field trips each semester: a trip to Moscow, and another regional destination such as the Pskov region, Veliky Novgorod, or Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan Republic. Each trip includes visits to places of educational, cultural, and historic significance, while still allowing some time for students to explore on their own. These trips give students the chance to experience the diversity and everyday life of modern Russia.

Student Life

Housing: All students live in Russian homestays. Participants have their own room in a Russian family’s private apartment. Housing and most meals are included; students eat two meals daily and three meals on weekends with their host family. Students are responsible for weekday lunches, but they will be given a stipend from the Overseas Office to cover the cost of the meals that their host family does not prepare for them. The university cafeteria offers very reasonably priced food, and is a good option for students.

Conversation Partners & Extracurricular Activities: Each student will have their very own sobesednik, or conversation partner, who will help them better understand the local culture and adjust to life in a new country. The conversation partners provide additional language support and a firsthand look at the lifestyle of Russian college students. Students can also join campus groups such as debate or choir, and participate in fun social activities with Russian students, including sporting events, trivia “Pub Quiz” nights, board game nights, cinema club meetings, and karaoke nights. A team of CIEE Russian Buddies organize additional activities, such as day-long trips to St. Petersburg, Russian winter sporting events, and a poetry/book club.

Cultural Activities: Each semester, CIEE students with the support of CIEE staff and Russian volunteers organize a cultural event. This event gives students the chance to delve into a specific period of Russian history and experience that era in a unique and engaging way with your fellow students and Russian peers. In past semesters, students have organized Stilyagi, a project featuring the retro hipster style and phenomenon of the Soviet Union in the 1950s, Russian Rock of the 1980s, and the Spring Ball, which highlights the period of Catherine the Great.

Volunteering: During their time in St. Petersburg, students also have the opportunity to volunteer at local organizations. Volunteering give students a chance to connect with the local community. Some of the volunteer opportunities from past semesters have included:

  • Helping categorize donated clothing to give to the homeless at Nochlezhka shelter

  • Assisting in the archaeological department at the Hermitage Museum, the world’s largest museum

  • Helping Russian students improve their English skills at St. Petersburg State University

  • Translating at Russia’s oldest film studio, Lenfilm

  • Helping at the SKA hockey club


2021-2022 Fee Breakdown*

Total Fee (includes Tuition, Program Fee, and Health & Wellness Fee): $36,259

Tuition: $28,485

Program Fee: $7,737

Health & Wellness Fee: $37**

Included in the program fee are room/housing, board/meals, and administrative fees. Not included are airfare, passport and visa expenses, primary insurance coverage, photographs, books, immunizations, and incidentals. 

*Fees are updated every February for the following academic year.

**The Health & Wellness Fee supports the operations of Wellness Services staff in delivering pre-program orientation services, as well as in providing health-related consultation regarding participant health needs. All students in the College of Arts and Sciences pay a mandatory fee of $37 per semester.

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend to cover the cost of meals and transportation costs not covered by the program fee.

Estimated Airfare (Round Trip PDX to LED): $1,000 - $2,000

Estimated Travel Document Fees: $260 - $290

Estimated Health Insurance Fee: $1,350.50

All students participating in overseas programs are automatically enrolled in iNext, a supplemental travel insurance program. The fee for iNext is covered in the program cost. However, students are also required to have comprehensive health insurance during their time abroad. All students participating in overseas programs, both abroad and domestic, are automatically enrolled in the College’s student health insurance program. Similar to a regular semester on-campus, students participating in overseas programs may waive enrollment in the student health insurance program if they have other comprehensive health insurance (e.g., through a parent, guardian or employer) that 1) provides coverage for them in the geographic region in which they will be studying and 2) includes mental health benefits. Click here for more information regarding health insurance & overseas programs.

Program Preparation

Application Process: This program has a dual application process. Student must first submit a Lewis & Clark Application. Once admitted by Lewis & Clark, the students will receive instructions for submitting their secondary application to CIEE and will receive a separate notification letter of admittance.  Please keep a digital copy of your essays and other application materials as you will need to submit these similar materials to CIEE. Please note that this secondary application process can be as late as the semester preceding your scheduled participation.

For more information about the application process, click here.

Travel: Students usually fly into the Pulkovo Airport (LED) in St. Petersburg, where they are met by CIEE staff and transported to the hotel for orientation.

Visa: Students will be required to apply for a visa in order to participate in this program. More information will be provided upon admission to the program.

Country-Specific Health Information: Click here to view specific health information for people traveling to Russia.

State Department Country Information: Click here to visit the State Department’s Russia page.

Russia, St. Petersburg