Summer Abroad Program

Designed to expose students to the richness of Russian culture, including contemporary society, popular culture, history, opera, ballet, architecture, and theater, this three-week summer course will take students to Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Conducted in English and open to all students, this course will enhance cultural competence, encourage students to pursue Russian language study, and foster an interest in Russian Area Studies.

This is a three-week course: the first week of classes will take place at Villanova, followed by two weeks in Russia. Classes at Villanova and in Russia will be held five or six days a week, four instructional hours daily. Students will receive 3 credits.

Students are expected to attend all classes and all required excursions, actively participate in class discussion, and keep a daily journal while in Russia. A term paper is also required.

The introductory week at Villanova University will consist of an intensive overview of Russian history and literature, political life, cities and architecture, customs, and introduction to conversational Russian. Guest speakers will include experts from various academic disciplines of Russian Studies.

Topics at Villanova

  • Day 1: Introduction: Russia and Her People. Russian Society and Politics of the Russian State
  • Day 2: A History of Russian Culture. Part I: Kiev and Moscow periods
  • Day 3: A History of Russian Culture. Part II: St. Petersburg

In Russia two-hour daily instruction will be organized by topic, and the daily schedule will consist of formal lectures, supplemented by guest lectures and organized visits with artists, journalists, media personalities, authors, politicians, and scientists. In addition to classes, there will be daily excursions to places of historical significance, including museums, churches and monasteries, theaters, and country estates. The program in Russia will be divided between Moscow and St. Petersburg, with students studying one week in each of the two cities.

Topics in Moscow and Planned Excursions

  • Day 1: History of the Kremlin. Russian Rule. (The Kremlin’s museums and churches.)
  • Day 2: Moscow Streets and Architecture (Pushkin Monument, Bulgakov’s Moscow, New Moscow)
  • Day 3: Field trip to Vladimir and Bogolubovo. Russian countryside
  • Day 4: Russian Art (Tretyakov Gallery)
  • Day 5: Russia’s Churches and Monasteries (Sergiev Posad)
  • Day 6: Soviet Culture (Lenin’s Mausoleum).
  • Day 7: Contemporary Russian Politics and Culture. Optional: Russian Customs (Bathhouses, Restaurants, Clubs)

Topics in Petersburg and Planned Excursions

  • Day 1: Peter’s Legacy (Peter and Paul Fortress, Bronze Horseman, Petersburg Streets, Architecture, and History
  • Day 2: Petersburg Streets, Architecture, and History. St. Isaac Cathedral
  • Day 3: The Culture of Russian Empire (Palace Square, Winter Palace, The Hermitage)
  • Day 4: The Culture of Russian Empire (Palaces of Russia’s rulers in the city of Peterdhof)
  • Day 5: Russian Literature in Petersburg (Haunts of Gogol and Dostoevsky, Dostoevsky Museum.)
  • Day 6: Free time. Conclusion.

Required Reading

  • Natasha’s Dance. (Figos)
  • Face of Russia (Billington)

Course Details

The course, RUS 3412 - Russian Culture in Context, is taught by Dr. Boris Briker, SAC 332. Guest speakers will lecture at Villanova and in Russia.

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