Bard Abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia 



Academics at Smolny College

Visiting North American students take between 14 and 17 credits per semester at Smolny, eleven of which are completed in the Russian as a Second Language program (RSL). Heritage and other high-proficiency speakers may have the RSL requirement reduced or waived, and can replace these credits with academic courses.


Smolny has 14 academic programs (majors) and six areas of concentration (minors), and there are over 130 courses offered each semester. Course lists for upcoming semesters are usually posted by Smolny near the end of the preceding semester. Below are the two most recent semester offerings:

Cultural Program

The program begins during orientation, with an introduction to the city. Excursions typically include walking tours, visits to museums, and a welcome dinner with Smolny classmates. The cultural program continues throughout the semester, with an average of one excursion every two weeks to a museum, opera, ballet, theater, or palace; social activities, including bowling and dinners; and several weekend excursions outside of St. Petersburg. All events are conducted in Russian, and Smolny classmates are invited along on excursions. In the past, students have visited the Hermitage,  Russian State Museum, and Tsarskoye Selo, just to name a few.

Russian as a Second Language (RSL)

The Russian as a Second Language (RSL) program boosts the development of students’ speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills. The program aims to facilitate students' adjustment to everyday life in Russia, and to the Smolny academic environment. Students who are attending Smolny for the fall semester are encouraged to enroll in our Summer Language Intensive (SLI). The program is designed to provide the equivalent of one year of Russian language study, and it offers a comprehensive introduction to Smolny as an academic institution.

Smolny’s RSL faculty are experts in working with international students. Most students find that our instructors' teaching style blends grammar-based methods (most commonly found in the classrooms of Europe and the former Soviet Union) with the more communicative methods popular in the United States. The RSL program at Smolny offers many unique features, some of which are listed below. Expand for more. Expand

Internship and Volunteering Opportunities

The Bard-Smolny Program encourages interested students to pursue volunteer service and/or internships during their time in St. Petersburg. Internships are available at various businesses, organizations, and cultural institutions throughout the city. Faculty and staff at Smolny have a wealth of contacts in the NGO, artistic, and media fields and can help organize these opportunities. North American students on the Bard-Smolny Program have found internships at places including the St. Petersburg Times, an English-language newspaper; the State Hermitage Museum; and Memorial, a Russian NGO focusing on human rights in Russia and the former Soviet Union. Placement is determined by the student's Russian language skills. 

Sample Internship Placement Opportunities Download. Download