Bard Abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia 



Summer Language Intensive (SLI)

Live, breathe, eat, and sleep Russian language and culture by immersing yourself in this intensive study abroad experience. Live with a host family, explore St. Petersburg, and improve your language skills. 

The Immersion Experience

The Bard-Smolny Summer Language Intensive (SLI) strives to provide participants with a total immersion experience:

  • A Russian-only policy at Smolny and during cultural excursions
  • Interaction with Russian students working as peer tutors
  • “Russian Table” lunch with instructors, classmates, and peer tutors
  • Homework sessions with faculty and tutors for extra help or conversation practice
  • Excursions to St. Petersburg’s world-renowned cultural sites such as the Hermitage and the Mariinsky Theater
  • Participation in either our Russian choir or theater program
  • Home-stays with Russian families

The Program

The Bard-Smolny Summer Language Intensive (SLI) provides challenging courses for students who have completed between two and six semesters of college-level Russian or its equivalent. Students can choose to enroll for four or eight weeks; the four-week program focuses on solidifying language concepts already covered while improving language skills, and the eight-week program is the equivalent of one year of Russian at a North American institution and covers text such as V Puti: Russian Grammar in Context and materials developed by Russian as a Second Language faculty. Students' Russian level will be measured with a short assessment administered at the time of application.

Course Work

The SLI is intensive, with 22 hours of class per week, daily quizzes and written assignments, and weekly tests. Class sizes are small (typically 8 to 10 students) with course work that emphasizes vocabulary acquisition, grammar comprehension, reading improvement, and writing achievement, as well as verbal and aural precision. Language is taught in conjunction with our cultural program, which integrates academic experience with a feel for the city of St. Petersburg. Course work for upper-level students includes a thematic workshop that focuses on language learning through content-specific instruction, such as Russian history and literature.  Past workshops have included Russian politics, literature, and art history.