Irkutsk, known as the "Pearl of Siberia", is a cultural center with a rich history and spectacular natural attributes (including the sunniest winters in Russia). The history of the city is closely tied to nearby Lake Baikal, the world's deepest and largest fresh-water lake. Full of quirky cafes, ethnic restaurants, and classical theaters, this city of nearly 600,000 boasts a diverse population that blends lifestyles and traditions from European Russia and numerous indigenous nomadic peoples.
About the Program
The Irkutsk, Russia program is offered through Hobart and William Smith Colleges' affiliation with Middlebury University and Middlebury C.V. Starr Schools Abroad, long recognized for providing students with intensive language immersion opportunities abroad. Based at Irkutsk State University (ISU) and coordinated through the International Institute of Economics and Linguistics, the program promotes the development of language skills and an understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Russia and the former Soviet Union.
Students typically will take one core course ("The Russian Language") and three electives, focusing on Russian language, culture, and society. For a detailed list of course offerings, click here.
This program is designed for students with a major or minor in Russian Area Studies or those who desire to improve their Russian language skills. The program can also serve students interested in environmental studies, literature, and the social sciences.
This program is open to all juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 2.75 (with a minimum of 3.0 in their major and Russian language courses). In addition, applicants must have completed two years of college-level Russian prior to departure and must take a Russian language course in the semester preceding the program. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.
Students will reside in a homestay with a Russian host family, arranged by the Middlebury program staff, that will provide unique insight into Russian life and culture. The homestay will serve to enhance the student's linguistic skills and to facilitate immersion into the local community and culture.
All students will participate in a two-day orientation program in Moscow that will include a variety of cultural activities and local tours. Following their arrival in Irkutsk, a variety of excursions in and around the city will be organized, along with one or two visits to nearby cities or regions of cultural and historical interest.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees plus a $600 administrative fee. This will cover tuition for a four-course semester, health insurance, and program-related activities and excursions. Note that no room and board charge is included. Students will pay room and board fees directly to their homestay.
Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, visa, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $1100-$1300 from the East Coast, books at $150, and visa at $500. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1250 above and beyond meal and accommodation expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on our specific situation.
HWS students must complete all components of the Global Education application in order to be considered for admission to this program.
This program is offered every semester.
All components of the application must be submitted online by the published deadline. Specific deadline dates are set each semester and typically will be in October (for Fall programs) and late February/early March (for Spring programs).
IMPORTANT: The handbook(s) below is/are the most recent handbook(s) published for this program. A new version, with updated information, will be made available each semester. Program participants will receive their updated handbook approximately 2-3 months prior to their program’s start date.
FALL HANDBOOK / SPRING HANDBOOK
Please DO NOT MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS until you have received final confirmation of the program start/finish dates for the specific semester you are attending. Dates included in versions of the program handbook intended for previous semesters do not necessarily apply to future programs.
NOTE: The information above is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.
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