Since its founding in 1983, the Russian immersion program has proven to be the model for successful intensive language study at the Center for Language Studies. We have consistently been able to offer four levels of Russian since the late 1980s, with one of the highlights being “Political Russian,” designed for advanced-level students.
Language instruction forms the essence of the summer intensive Russian program. All four levels of Russian are taught by experienced instructors committed to the communicative approach, the use of technology, and the integration of language and culture in the classroom. Each textbook chosen is appropriate for the intensive, fast-paced nature of the Russian language programs, and reflects post-Soviet Russian society.
Study of culture forms a vital component of our intensive program. Knowledge of Russian culture not only plays a practical role in building proficiency in Russian, but also helps students to understand a remarkable land and people rich in history and of critical importance in today's world. In the classroom, instructors integrate culture into the language learning process itself through the use of stories, songs, poetry, movies, cartoons, and web sites.
100A-105A. First-Year Russian I, II (four semester credit hours each). First-year Russian develops the "four skills" (speaking, listening, writing, and reading) in the context of a communicative-based text. The language is standard contemporary spoken Russian, and the reading texts, examples, and exercises are designed not just to inculcate the word order and intonation of contemporary Russian, but to teach skills needed to speak Russian naturally, beyond a mere copying of pattern skills.
110A-115A. Second-Year Russian I, II (four semester credit hours each). Second-year Russian offers a comprehensive review of basic Russian grammar in the context of everyday situations and further develops the students' listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Russian videos, cassette tapes, slides, and the Internet are used as supplementary materials. Classes are conducted in Russian.
210A-215A. Third-Year Russian I, II (four semester credit hours each). The task of third-year Russian is to master vocabulary and language skills by concentrating on oral communication and self-expression. The course increases proficiency in the four skills by developing fluency in speaking, reading, and writing Russian. Language acquisition and cultural awareness are integrated through the viewing, discussion, and analysis of classic and contemporary Russian films without subtitles. All classes are conducted in Russian.
Fourth-Year (Political) Russian
310A-311A. Fourth-Year Russian I, II (four semester credit hours each). This course provides an intensive review of Russian grammar in the context of current events and international relations. Students acquire a strong basis in political vocabulary as they continue to develop the four basic skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The textbook is supplemented by materials on business Russian, thematically-based dialogues, and role-playing exercises. To provide further topics for discussion, students view daily satellite news broadcasts from Russia. Language acquisition and cultural awareness are integrated through the viewing, discussion, and analysis of classic and contemporary Russian films without subtitles. All classes are conducted in Russian.
Edie Furniss studied third-year Russian at CLS in summer 2005. Three years later, she returned as a TA to teach the first-year students during the summer program.
As a third-year Russian student, Summer 2005:
"When I came to CLS to study third-year Russian in the summer of 2005, I had a strong foundation in the language but lacked the necessary confidence to converse with native Russian speakers. While the intensive language learning environment was a dramatic change from my undergraduate Russian courses, I quickly adapted to the fast pace and rose to the challenges the program provided.
That summer, I made significant breakthroughs in my Russian language skills: I went from timidly observing the conversations of teachers and fellow students to, in a matter of weeks, becoming an active participant. Not only was I being equipped with the skills to communicate and express myself in Russian, I was also accumulating a great deal of cultural knowledge through the work with cartoons, songs and films in my third-year course in addition to weekly screenings of classic Soviet and Russian movies. Also, my pronunciation improved via daily phonetics exercises and tongue twisters, and my vocabulary greatly increased by reading authentic texts.
By the end of the program I felt fully prepared to study abroad in Russia; when I arrived in Krasnodar, a provincial city near the Black Sea, I was able to communicate easily with my host family as well as enjoy daily life in Russia. Participating in CLS enriched my study abroad experience because it gave me the skills necessary to interact more meaningfully with my Russian host family, teachers, and friends."
As a teaching assistant for first-year Russian, Summer 2008:
"Three years after being a student in CLS, I had the opportunity to return as a teaching assistant for the first-year Russian course. As a former participant, I am aware of the challenges and rewards of participating in the intensive language program at CLS, as well as the skills that are necessary for success in the target language country. This means not only providing students with grammar fundamentals, but also assisting them in reaching communicative competence through a variety of interactive and authentic activities.
Again, I understand first-hand the importance of being culturally knowledgeable; I strive to impart that cultural information through relevant music, movies, literature, and so on, often with the aid of technology. Students who enjoy a challenge and would like to improve their linguistic skills and raise cultural consciousness in an atmosphere that will provide them with the instruction and support essential to reaching the next level in language proficiency will find CLS to be an ideal match."