Past Review

By (Russian Language and Literature, Wellesley College) for

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Yaroslavl

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile. It improved my language skills greatly, it increased my cultural understanding of the country whose language and literature I am studying, it focused my academic and career goals, and was generally one of the most challenging and interesting years of my life.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Yaroslavl State Pedagogical University
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months
The term and year this program took place: Full-Year 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academics were not at the same level as Wellesley in terms of difficulty and sometimes even content, but in terms of language development, the reason for my study abroad, they were very good and effective. I believe that I learned a lot and the program fulfilled my expectations.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We had a different coordinators each semester, one American and then a Russian. Both were very capable, willing to listen to our concerns, and arranged all the practicalities of the program satisfactorily.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with a single older woman in an apartment. It was situated on the Volga River and had an amazing view. I had a room to myself, which was spacious and furnished with a closet, shelves, a chest of drawers, and even a table and chairs. My house was in the center of the city, about a 30 minute walk from the university, but within easy walking distance of almost everything. It was an amazing location. <br /><br /> My host kept very much to herself and so I rarely had long conversations with her and when I did, she did most of the talking. We had a few problems, mostly related to cultural differences and her health problems. I loved my house though, and the location and the view. I lived in between a restaurant and several night clubs, which was both convenient and annoying. Everything was arranged for me, so the practical side of housing was stress-free.

* Food:

The cafeteria is very cheap and not bad, there are several inexpensive and good cafes nearby, and at home the food was generally very good, although my host had a tendency to use excessive amounts of oil.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had an amazing time, learned so much, made some amazing friends, and definitely created a (I think) life-long connection with Russia. I will definitely go back, and hope to work there. My study abroad experience helped me focus my goals for my last year at Wellesley, and solidify for myself the reasons I am studying Russian.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never had any health issues, but others did and I know they were taken care of. I never felt like I was in danger, as long as I took reasonable precautions, but these never had to be so extreme that they interfered greatly with my life.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I don't exactly know. I would say anywhere between $60 and $300, depending on what you do. It is possible to eat lunch for $3 in some cafes. Toiletries are about the same price, sometimes a bit cheaper. Clothing is pretty much the same. Drinks are cheaper or more expensive depending on what they are. It is easy to spend a lot, but also very possible to live cheaply and economize.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget for travel on holidays and weekend trips.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I am satisfied with the improvement in my language skills. I am able to write serious papers and have in-depth discussions in Russian. Of course, there I still have a lot to learn. My advice for maximum improvement would be to spend as much time with locals as possible - make friends, do extracurricular activities, etc.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't be terrified by the pre-departure information. They make it sound much more strict, terrifying and difficult than it actually is. At least in Yaroslavl, you will have a very pleasant and useful experience.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Russian Poetry of the Silver Age

Course Department: N/A
Instructor: Elena Aliyevna
Instruction Language: Russian
Comments: The discussions were very good, we went into the material in-depth, and the class improved both my language skills and knowledge of Russian literature.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.
Course Name/Rating:

Writing and Rhetoric

Course Department: N/A
Instructor: Larissa Vladimirovna Ukhova
Instruction Language: Russian
Comments: I believe this course was the most helpful in terms of language development. It improved both my writing and speaking skills to a great extent.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.