Student Awards · Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

#WFU18 Tatiana Ostwalt’s time in Kazakhstan as a Fulbright TA

Tatiana Ostwalt, WFU18 in Russian, was awarded a Fulbright TA-ship in Kazakhstan for 2020. Unfortunately, her time in Kazakhstan was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, but she has shared this essay and some photographs of her time there with us.

Tatiana in Kazakhstan 1

I was placed in the city of Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan, with a population of about 200,000 people that is located in the south of Kazakhstan. In this region, there is a strong emphasis on the Kazakh culture and Kazakh is more commonly spoken than Russian, as compared to other parts of Kazakhstan. There is a considerable amount of Koreans living in Kazakhstan and as ethnically Korean myself, I would often be thought of as a native until I was heard speaking. This allowed me to blend into my environment fairly well, but also challenged me to continue improving my target language abilities. Although people would be initially surprised to hear that I was American, once I told them about my background, they would quickly understand and be receptive to find out more.

Tatiana in Kazakhstan 3

I taught English 13 hours a week in the Department of Foreign Languages and Translation Studies of a university in my city. My host institution was very welcoming and I had a lot of fun teaching my students. The students were at the very least bilingual, knowing both Kazakh and Russian, and were eager to improve their English with a native speaker and learn about life in the United States. The students I was teaching were majoring in Translation Studies or Education, and were highly driven to be proficient in the languages they were learning to apply to their future careers. 

For almost all of my students, I was the first American they had met and I was happy to share with them about where I was from and represent the U.S. with this cultural exchange. While students were learning about different facets of American life and strengthening their English, I was being educated on the differences of the education system in Kazakhstan and learning more about the Kazakh culture and history. One of my students and a local friend also started teaching me Kazakh. I loved seeing the passion and love the people here had for their ethnic roots and identity, and was glad they wanted to share that with me. Thanks to the support of the Fulbright Program, my host institution, and the local friends I made in my community, the transition process to Kazakhstan was made much smoother. I feel lucky to have formed lasting friendships and bonds there, and feel thankful for the hospitality I was shown by the Kazakh people. I hope I will get the chance to return one day. 

Tatiana in Kazakhstan 2

Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

Summer Language Study Updates

It’s been a whirlwind here at WFU as we start on our third week of remote instruction. It’s been a challenging transition for everyone, but faculty, staff, and students have tackled the challenge with enthusiasm and unfailing good humor (okay, there might have been some sobbing into a pint of ice cream here and there, but overall the transition has gone remarkably smoothly).

RUS 212 Spring 2020 4.1

Students from RUS 212 signing into a virtual class meeting–and “sharing” their snacks!

Unfortunately, study abroad programs have been cancelled. Although doing so is clearly necessary, it is a major disappointment for the students who had been planning on a fabulous trip this summer.

However, several summer programs are now offering online courses. So while you will not be able to have that trip to St. Petersburg or Tbilisi this summer, you can still study a foreign language. Many of the programs are being redesigned in a way that keeps their eligibility for Title XIII, FLAS, and Project GO funding.

Because the situation is changing so quickly, programs have not been able to keep their websites updated. If you have questions about a specific program, please contact them directly. If you would like to know more about the situation for German programs, please contact Professor Howards at If you would like to know more about the situation for Russian programs, please contact Professor Clark at

A partial list of Critical Need Language programs that are currently offering online summer courses:

Arizona State’s Critical Language Institute

Beloit College’s Center for Language Studies

Indiana University’s Summer Language Workshop

University of Pittsburgh’s Summer Language Institute

Other programs may be available soon. The good news is that these are very affordable! While it won’t be the same as study abroad, you can still make considerable progress in your language learning.

Stay safe and have fun studying!

Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

Internships for Russian Students

This week we’ve been covering the various study abroad and internship opportunities for students interested in Russia and the former USSR. While some programs such as American Councils and SRAS also offer internships as part of their programming, there are others that focus only on internships.

1-Week Internship with NASA


A one-off opportunity for Russian majors not to be missed!

The Duke University Slavic and Eurasian Language Resource Center (SEELRC) is pleased to announce a call for applications for a weeklong internship (June, 2020) through TechTrans International Inc. at the NASA Johnson Space Center’s Language Education Center (JLEC) in Houston, TX. Must be a current Russian major with at least a 3.0 GPA to qualify.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please write to by February 15, 2020.

Crossroads Eurasia

Transsiberian Railroad

Travel across Eurasia with Crossroads Eurasia!

Crossroads Eurasia offers short-term unpaid internships all across Russia. If you’re interested in interning somewhere other than Moscow or St. Petersburg, Crossroads Eurasia can help you out.

Camp Cosmopolitan


For something truly different, go to the Altai region with Camp Cosmopolitan

Camp Cosmopolitan offers internships and Russian language instruction at their summer and winter camps in the spectacular Altai region of Siberia. They offer both a summer and a winter language camp, for students who want to try something very different and maybe fit in a trip over winter break

Intrigued? Want to find out more? Contact Professor Clark at for more information about study and internship opportunities in the former USSR.

Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

Intensive Summer Russian Programs in the US

This week we’re looking at opportunities for intensive Russian study, as well as internships and other travel programs. But what if you can’t or don’t want to travel abroad? Great news! There are a wide variety of intensive summer programs right here in the US to choose from.

Middlebury Summer Language School


The most well-known of the intensive summer language programs is at Middlebury College.

Middlebury’s language program is famous for its language pledge. Students agree not to speak English for the duration of the entire program, giving them the closest thing to an immersion experience they can have in the US.

Summer Intensive Language Program in Monterey


The West Coast more your style? Middlebury has you covered there as well!

Middlebury also has a satellite program in Monterey, CA, that offers Russian, Arabic, and Chinese.

Indiana University Summer Language Workshop

Sample Gates

The oldest intensive Russian program in the US is at Indiana University’s Bloomington campus

IU’s Summer Language Workshop is one of the biggest in the country, and also one of the most affordable. All students pay in-state tuition, and scholarships are available. The program has recently been expanded to include more languages and hybrid and online options as well as courses on the Bloomington campus.

Beloit College Summer Intensive Program


A WFU student took advantage of Beloit’s intensive summer Russian program to turbocharge her progress!

Beloit College offers intensive Russian, Chinese, and Japanese for 7 weeks in the summer. The slightly shorter program may fit better in some students’ schedules.

Bryn Mawr Russian Language Institute

Bryn Mawr

Earn 8 credits of Russian in 8 weeks!

Bryn Mawr’s intensive summer Russian program provides 8 credits (1 year’s worth) in just two months.

Pitt Summer Language Institute


With Pitt, you can study BCS in both Pittsburgh and beautiful Podgorica, Montenegro

The University of Pittsburgh offers both domestic and hybrid programs (half in the US, half in the target country), giving students the best of both worlds. They also have an extensive offering of unusual languages, including Bulgarian, Czech, Hungarian, and Slovak.

Arizona State Critical Languages Institute


Study Albanian in Tirana with ASU!

ASU’s Critical Languages Institute has a very wide variety of critical need language offerings. Most of the programs include domestic study plus the option of a 4-week extension in the target country. The CLI is another very affordable option for students on a budget.

This should have given you an idea of the kinds of programs available to study Russian and other critical need languages right here in the US. For more information, please email Dr. Clark at

Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

Study Abroad Programs for Russian Outside of Russia

The first post in this series had a list of study abroad programs inside of Russia. Some of them, such as American Councils and SRAS, also offer study abroad programs in the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Central Asia.

But what if you want to study Russian in the former USSR, but don’t want to go to Russia? Reasons for doing so can range from program restrictions–e.g., Project GO scholarships currently don’t cover Russia–to a desire to see a lesser-known side of the former USSR. Fortunately, there are a couple of programs that cater specifically to students wishing to study Russian in an immersion environment outside of Russia.

Learn Russian in the EU


With the Learn Russian in the EU program, you can have a Russian immersion experience in the Russian-speaking city of Daugavpils while staying in the EU.

This program is based in Daugavpils, Latvia, which is an EU member. Among other perks, travel to Latvia is currently visa-free for US citizens. One of our WFU ROTC students studied there in 2018 and enjoyed it tremendously!

Harvard Summer Program in Tbilisi


Study Russian with Harvard faculty in beautiful Tbilisi, Georgia!

A WFU student is planning to do this program this summer. Get intensive Russian instruction while experiencing the beauty of the South Caucasus.



Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

Study Abroad Opportunities in Russia

It’s that time! Time to apply for programs for Summer and Fall 2020! This week we’ll be featuring study abroad programs and internships in the former Eastern Bloc and USSR, as well as intensive summer programs here in the US, for Russian and other Eurasian languages. This is not an exhaustive list of opportunities, but it’s a good place to get started.

So to get us started, let’s take a look at some of the biggest programs for going to Russia. Most of these have already been used by WFU students, so they already come with the WFU seal of approval. Some of them only offer programs in Russia, while others offer programs all over Eurasia.

American Councils/ACTR

BakuWant to study Azerbaijani in Baku? ACTR will help you get there!

American Councils, also known as ACTR, offers programs all over Russia, Eurasia, the Balkans, and Asia. Some highlights include their Russian Heritage Speakers program, their Business Russian Language & Internship program, their Eurasian Regional Language program that offers courses in languages ranging from Armenian to Uzbek, and their Balkan Languages Initiative. They offer summer, semester, and full-year programs.


Lake Baikal

Interested in the environment as well as Russian? You can study both on the shores of beautiful Lake Baikal in Siberia!

The School of Russian and Asian Studies, commonly known as SRAS, offers programs and internships all over the former Eastern Bloc and USSR. Known for their innovative programming, they offer a variety of unique opportunities ranging from Central Asian Studies in Bishkek, to a program on Language and the Environment on Lake Baikal, to their Cuba-Russia Connection summer program that will take you from Havana to St. Petersburg. They are also one of the most budget-friendly study abroad programs, and offer a range of funding opportunities as well.

Bard Abroad


Want to go somewhere far from the beaten path? Consider Bard’s program in Kyrgyzstan!

Bard Abroad offers both semester and summer programs in St. Petersburg, Russia and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Bard Abroad has been particularly popular with WFU students, who have been universally pleased with their study abroad adventures! Scholarships may be available.


St Petersburg

Want to spend a summer or semester in St. Petersburg, one of the art capitals of the world? CIEE can help!

CIEE is the longest-running study abroad program to Russia. It’s been sending American students to St. Petersburg since back when it was still called Leningrad. A WFU student spent last semester there with them, and loved the experience.

American Home

Vladimir 3

Visit Russia’s Golden Ring and the medieval capital Vladimir with American Home

American Home offers intensive Russian language programs as well as opportunities to teach English in Vladimir. They also offer Alternative Spring Break and Maymester programs, if you want to go there but don’t have a whole summer or semester available.

These are just some of the study abroad opportunities available! For more information, please contact Professor Clark at

Department Events · Student Awards · Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

Applications for Sanders Scholarships are Now Open

Interested in doing a study abroad to Germany or Austria?


Now there’s an incentive to apply for study abroad!

The WFU German program is now accepting applications for Sanders Scholarships, which help offset the cost of study abroad in Germany or Austria. They’re available to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors who will have completed GER 153 by  the time of the award period and plan to study at the Goethe Institute, IES, or the Flow House.

If you have any questions, please talk to your instructor or Doctor Howards. You can access a PDF of the application here: Sanders Scholarship Application 2019

Applications and letter of recommendation are due Monday, December 2nd.

Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

A Former WFU Student in Eastern Europe

Who knows where your post-college life will lead you? Former WFU student Addison McLamb has contributed this delightful post about a little side adventure to Romania during his posting in Bulgaria:

Romanian border

A border check point between Romania and Bulgaria
There we were: cruising 80kph towards the Romanian border in a diesel Opel SUV, Katy Perry’s “Harleys in Hawaii” playing from a small bluetooth speaker; Josh, the SoCal West Pointer, fighting sleep in the passenger seat; empty bottles of SAVINA water and “5” gum wrappers littering the floorboards.
All was quiet on the Eastern front. Farms and small villages lay along the route. We crossed a large valley in the Danube river basin and snaked through the mountains with slow-moving transfer trucks before being deposited onto the flat, tilled cropland of Varna’s coastal shelf. The Black Sea was was a just a few horizons east of us.
At the border crossing, Bulgarian truckers were queued in neat lines and standing by their cabs and critiquing the whole scene with the unblinking detachment of kennel club judges. Very tight shirts over very loose stomachs. Cheap European cigarette fumes, probably from large distributors in Plovdiv or Sofia. Waiting.
Our small vehicle line moved faster and we were waved forward by a frowning man in a black jumpsuit. “CUSTOMS,” his jacket said. We complied and I turned off what was now 6LACK.
“No. These are not right.” (our NATO paperwork)
I gulped.
Josh had crossed the border multiple times. He laughed and put on his sunglasses and looked out the side and mumbled something about this has never happened before, haha.
CUSTOMS shook his head and said “no, no!” in broken English and went back inside his brick shack covered in block Cyrillic and colored seals and all ranges of emphatic geometric punctuation. Murphy’s Law also applies in the former Soviet bloc.
But thankfully, CUSTOMS never returned. The next officer helpfully processed our paperwork and we were off into the agro-paradise of Romania’s sprawling seaboard.
Overall, the trip wasn’t too eventful. We saw stray dogs, rundown villages, beautiful rolling hills that smacked of scenelets somewhere between the darkness of Rembrandt and the glossiness of a Teletubbies shtick. Bulgarian mountains are like molars—stumpy and unpredictable and jutting up inconveniently as series of broken ridges and open rock faces. The people and the towns are are getting older. Elders sit along the roadways and look at the cars as they pass by, perhaps wondering where we’re going, and why, or perhaps not wondering anything at all.
In one town there was a giant rocket statue by the main road. Commuters wheeled past. Evergreens crowded the statue’s base, and I strained to see a faded “CCCP” logo within the memorial. And in thinking about this recent road trip as a whole, that’s how rural Bulgaria seemed: like something stoic and dark, a statue perhaps, built atop a fading manifesto and being crowded out by the trees.
There is life and growth in this place but you have to look hard to find it.
Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

#StudyAbroad Opportunities in the former USSR

With fall break coming up this week, now seems like the perfect time to start thinking about study abroad opportunities. And don’t forget that the deadline for the Critical Language Scholarship is next month! Check out this post to read more about scholarships available for studying Russian.

However, don’t stop there. There are loads of other opportunities for the intensive study of Russian all over the former USSR.

St. Petersburg

Keep reading to find out how you can visit St. Petersburg in person

SRAS (the School of Russian and Asian Studies) is a popular and budget-friendly organization that offers a variety of programming all over Eastern Europe and the former USSR. Whether you want to study art in St. Petersburg, do a business internship in Moscow, take intensive language courses in Vladivostok, or study the environment on Lake Baikal, SRAS has a program likely to fit your interests.

American Councils is one of the most popular and longest-running programs in Russia and the Eastern Bloc. They provide a variety of language and cultural programming in multiple locations. A program that’s uniquely theirs is this one for heritage speakers of Russian, for students who grew up in a Russian-speaking family.

Bard Abroad has proven to be a popular program with WFU students, with our students enjoying both the program in St. Petersburg and the one in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.


Consider Kyrgyzstan for something completely different!

Learn Russian in the EU is a program in the Russian-speaking Latvian city of Daugavpils. Ideal for students who want a Russian immersion experience while remaining the EU, or for students interested in Baltic studies.

American Home in Vladimir provides some unusual opportunities, including “Spring Break in Russia”–week-long programs in March–as well as customized Russian intensive programs.

There are lots of other programs as well, so you’re sure to find one that will fit your needs! Contact Professor Clark at for more information on study abroad programming for Russian.

Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

#Scholarships to Study #Russian!

Since the application for the Critical Languages Scholarship has just gone live, this week seems like a great time to let students know about the national scholarships available to study Russian. Posts about German scholarships and study abroad programs will be coming soon!

Because Russian is a Critical Need Language, meaning a language that is considered critical to US interests but that is not commonly studied by US students, there are a variety of funding opportunities for it at the national level. Below is a list of some of the scholarships available for study abroad in a Russian-speaking country. If you are interested in applying for them or any other intensive Russian program, please contact Professor Clark at

The Gilman Scholarship

Deadline: October 1st

The Gilman Scholarship is for US citizens who are enrolled in an undergraduate program at a US college or university and are receiving Pell Grants. It can be used for a study abroad or internship program that includes the study of a critical need language. Find out more here.

The Critical Language Scholarship

Deadline: November 19th

The Critical Language Scholarship funds summer intensive language study at one of its overseas programs. This year’s Russian-language programs are in Bishkek, Tbilisi, Vladimir, and Nizhnii Novgorod.


The Nizhnii Novgorod Kremlin

Fun fact: WFU ’18 grad Tatiana Ostwalt received a CLS to study Russian in 2017! Find out more about the CLS Russian program here.

Project GO

Deadline: January 18th

Project GO (Project Global Officer) is a scholarship for ROTC students to study critical languages. It can be used both for domestic programs such as Indiana University’s Summer Language Workshop and study abroad programs. There’s more information and a video featuring a Russian student from Georgia Tech here.

Boren Scholarship

Deadline: February 5th

The Boren Scholarship is for undergraduates studying a critical need language who intend to pursue a career in public service. Scholarship recipients must commit to working in positions critical to national security after graduation, and are often eligible for preferential hiring for such positions. For more information see here.

As you can see, there are many options for funding your Russian study abroad experience! Stay tuned for future posts about more study abroad programs and opportunities!