Russian is spoken by 280 million people; it ranks with English and Chinese as one of three major world languages. Over a quarter of the world’s scientific literature is published in Russian. With the end of the Cold War, Russia has opened its door to international businesses, banking, mass media, culture, and entertainment, and with it grew motivations for studying the Russian language. Thousands of Russians travel to the United States for business and pleasure each year, and thousands more have made the United States their home. Russia continues to play a central role in global politics, and experience shows that the demand for foreign experts with Russian language skills grows.
Although with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the reasons to study Russian may appear to have lessened, Russia is still a country, rich in many ways: literature, drama, music, and culture. In addition, language continues to be the medium of exchange with the former republics of the Soviet Union, at least until their own languages gain a larger following in this country.
Just a few of the reasons why study Russian:
Business opportunities in Russia stimulate foreigners to study Russian. Russia’s re-entry into the world economic system has opened up an enormous and largely unexploited market for Western goods and services. Russia possesses a well-educated workforce and vast natural resources, so business opportunities in the region can only increase over time. Over 300 US companies have already opened businesses in Russia, and Western European firms are even more actively investing in the region.
Government, politics, and international relations. Russia continues to play a central role in global politics, and there are a wide variety of career opportunities in both governmental and non-governmental organizations for people studying Russian language. The far-reaching changes in the Russian government and society as a whole which began with the fall of communism offer students of Russian an exciting opportunity to study a nation in transition.
Learn about a different culture. Studying a foreign language offers a unique opportunity to experience another culture in depth. Russia’s position on the boundary between Europe and Asia and its unique history has produced a complex and fascinating cultural environment, and there are now many more opportunities than in the past to travel there and experience this society first-hand. Studying Russian language opens the door to the study of Russia’s rich tradition of literature, art, and music. While studying Russian language and culture is an intellectually stimulating and enriching experience in itself, the cultural knowledge and understanding that can be gained also have career implications. Even if you don’t use your specific knowledge of Russian, the cultural awareness you gain can transfer to other situations and settings.
All the courses are based on communicative approaches and combine learning common expressions used in everyday situations with a thorough and systematic grammatical approach. This is of vital importance for learning a language like Russian, which has an inflectional system and a non-fixed word order – a language in which word endings or word’s place create the meaning.
Conversational topics are given with appropriate grammar structures, while the grammar part of the course proceeds gradually from simple “basic concepts” to more complex issues in a psychologically proven order (e.g. naming objects – describing locations – actions with objects – moving to and from, etc.). One of the most important principles consists in giving the students the linguistic means to express themselves in everyday situations by constant training of communicative skills and models, which allows learners to reach their own communicative objectives.
In our group courses, we teach six levels of Russian year-round (beginner to intermediate) and eight levels during the busy summer period (adding upper-intermediate and advanced classes). For reasons of compatibility, we have adapted the framework of the European Language Portfolio. Lesson numbers required to complete each level are averaged, based on our experience with students passing through our school. Students enrolling for a one-to-one course will need less time to pass from one level to the next.