Why study Russian at Macalester?

Russian is a global language
Learning Russian is the first step toward connecting with the 200+ million who speak Russian across Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the nine time zones of Russia. There is growing demand for Russian-speaking professionals in fields such as law, foreign service, environmental studies, business, health care, human rights, and journalism. “Russian is a vital tool for any foreign correspondent wanting to work in the large slice of the world that lies between Poland and Japan, north of Iran.” (Edward Lucas, correspondent for The Economist)

Russian is a local language
In the U.S. alone there are over 900,000 Russian speakers. Many Russian-speaking émigrés live right here in the Twin Cities. A knowledge of Russian will allow you to reach out to people in your own community. Our students have worked as translators for local Russian-speaking immigrants and delegations from such places as the republic of Georgia. We will put you in touch with local organizations that help new émigrés and promote Russian culture in its many forms.

Russia is a resurgent world power
Thanks to its technological might, control of energy sources, vast nuclear arsenal, and veto power in the UN, Russia has re-emerged with new geopolitical significance. The U.S. government considers Russian skills critical for national security and provides scholarships to support the study of the language.

Experience an amazing culture first hand
Russian works of art live on as infinitely renewable sources of inspiration for writers, musicians, artists, and filmmakers. Our courses on Russian culture are open to everyone. And we teach language through songs, films, and literature. Our students have interned at the Museum of Russian Art and performed at the annual Russian Seasons festival. Studying in Russia lets you encounter artistic masterpieces in the company of locals who will provide an invaluable perspective on their cultural heritage.

Join a supportive community
As you begin your exploration of all things Russian, you will have all the resources you need, including dedicated faculty, a community of language learners, and cultural events to enrich your knowledge and understanding. We offer frequent events throughout each semester at the Russian House including film screenings, holiday celebrations and other get-togethers, as well as other opportunities to interact with local Russian speakers. At our yearly paper competition you can share your work with intellectual fellow travelers at Macalester and beyond.

Student Achievement
Anna Steele ’18 was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship to study Russian and Georgian in Tbilisi, Georgia, this summer. CLS is an American Councils for International Education initiative by the U.S. Department of State, which seeks to broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages through intensive overseas language and cultural immersion.
Anna Ivanov ’18 was accepted into the prestigious PhD program in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University and will continue to explore all Russian has to offer there this fall.
Ingrid Korsgard ’13 and Louise Dickson ’11 have both received Alfa Fellowships and are spending the year in Moscow. The Alfa Fellowship is a highly competitive professional development program which places fellows at work positions in leading institutions and prepares them for success in the business, public policy, and cultural environments of Russia and the region.

Sample Course Offerings

  • Terrorism and Art: The Spectacle of Destruction
  • Russian Folklore
  • Making History: Russian Cinema as Testimony, Propaganda, and Art
  • Things Don’t Like Me: The Material World and Why It Matters
  • The Post-Soviet Sphere
  • Russian Theatre
  • Translation as Cross-Cultural Communication