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Russian Language, Literature, and Culture

Why Study Russian?

With an area of roughly 6,592,000 square miles, the Russian Federation is the world’s biggest country, nearly twice the size of China and more than 1.5 times the size of the United States. Russian is the first language of nearly 140 million citizens of Russia and remains the lingua franca of the former Soviet Republics, including much of Central Asia. It is one of the six offical languages of the United Nations. 

Known around the world for its literature, ballet, opera, theater, classical music and visual art, Russia's rich and enigmatic culture has long fascinated Americans, but today the knowledge of Russian also offers myriad employment opportunities both in the U.S. and in Russia.

Our students have found careers in non-governmental organizations, publishing houses, law and advertising firms, internet start-ups, and other businesses both here and in Russia. They go on to work as analysts or consultants in fields such as media, marketing, chemistry, aerospace and computer engineering. Others become teachers or government employees. Moreover, the break up of the Soviet Union produced a large wave of immigrants to this country who require health care professionals, lawyers, social workers, teachers, and other professionals who know Russian.

There has never been a better time to pursue a degree in Russian. If you're already studying Russian, consider these great funding/learning opportunities:

Boren Fellowships

The Fulbright Scholar Awards

Critical Language Scholarship Program

For SU Russian study abroad opportunities, check out SRAS and the Bard-Smolny Program.

Congratulations to Brendan Finlay, our 2015 outstanding graduating Russian major. Other recent recipients: Hannah Williams (2014) and Tyler Mills (2013).

Best wishes to Bryce Davis '15, who will be spending the next two years working for the Peace Corps in Macedonia.

Additional congratulations to Samantha Costello '13, recipient of a Fulbright Award in Azerbaijan. Other former Russian majors who have received Fulbrights include Stephen Barton '12 (Russia) and Anna Shwedel '10 (Kazakhstan).

An excerpt from President Obama's 2009 speech at the New Economic School in Moscow: "I speak to you today with deep respect for Russia's timeless heritage. Russian writers have helped us understand the complexity of the human experience, and recognize eternal truths. Russian painters, composers, and dancers have introduced us to new forms of beauty. Russian scientists have cured disease, sought new frontiers of progress,and helped us go to space. These are contributions that are not contained by Russia's borders, as vast as those borders are. Indeed, Russia's heritage has touched every corner of the world, and speaks to the humanity that we share. That includes my own country, which has been blessed with Russian immigrants for decades; we've been enriched by Russian culture, and enhanced by Russian cooperation."

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