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

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 · Uncategorized

This Week’s Activities: Come Hang out and Have Fun before Finals!

Goodness! Is it the last week of the semester already? It *is*! How did that happen?

We have a full slate of activities this week, so let’s dive right in.

Sanders Scholarship Application 2019 are due Monday! Be sure to get yours in by the deadline.

Sanders CFA

On Tuesday we’ll have the last Chas Peek (Russian conversation hour) of the semester. Be sure to come on by for conversation, snacks, and maybe some Russian songs and Russian games!

Chas Peek December

And on Wednesday we’ll have the last Kaffeestunde (German conversation hour) of the semester! Come join us for a little extra practice before finals–or just a fun way to destress before jumping into the pre-finals studying.

Kaffeestunde December

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

#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!

Faculty research · Student Awards · Travel Abroad · Uncategorized

WFU German & Russian Students Receive Fellowships and Internships to Travel the World


The town of Imst, Austria, where Elizabeth Waid (WFU19) will be teaching English as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant

Spring is usually an exciting place on college campuses, as students learn of summer fellowships, internships, and post-graduate opportunities.  For our department, even more so: we have had a record-breaking yield on student honors, awards, and fellowships.  Take a look at the following updates we have received to date:

Our department always has a number of successful Fulbright applicants each year.  These students usually go on to spend a year in Germany, Austria, or, recently, the Czech Republic, to teach English to high school students.  This year, 25% of the WFU students selected as Fulbright semi-finalists were from the German and Russian Department!  From that list, the following were selected as recipients or alternates:
Jessica Wu (Mathematical Economics & German Major, 2019) has received a Fulbright Teaching Assistant award to spend next year teaching English at a German high school;
Elizabeth Waid (Economics & German Major, 2019) has been named an alternate for a German Fulbright Teaching Assistantship, and has also been awarded the parallel award to teach English next year in Austria;
Emily Beeland (Sociology & German Studies Major, 2019) has been named an alternate for Austrian Teaching Assistantship.  And hold onto your hats: she has also been offered a job at Walt Disney World, starting this June!
In addition to those exciting year-long stays, FOUR of our students have been offered a WFU Richter Grant, which funds summer travel and research abroad.  These are competitive awards, so having four people from our department – let along from a department of our small size – is outstanding.  Take a look at their fascinating proposed projects:
Riley Phillips (Studio Art & German Major) will be based in Berlin, researching the intersections between German internationalism and the world of high fashion;
Cameron Allen (Politics & International Affairs) will be pursuing her project “An Exploration of Modern Afro-German Activism”;
Sunny Calhoun (Women & Gender Studies) will be researching a project titled “German Queer Public Histories”;
Andy Weicheng Jiang (Mathematical Economics Major & Russian Minor) will be travelling to Koenigsberg and Gdansk, where he will explore the shifting cultural identities of these places after the Second World War.
Our students are very lucky to have Dr. Heiko Wiggers as a mentor for all things related to internships. This year, after a competitive application process, including rigorous rounds interviews, two students have been offered paid internships in Germany:
Nick Mazzella (German & Finance Major, 2020) will be with Ernst & Young in Frankfurt;
Will McKay (German & Business Major, 2020) will be returning to Kieselbronn to work with Elvation a medical device company.  They liked him so much last summer that they hired him again!
In our batch of last year’s graduates, Kimberly Annas (2018) has been accepted into the Ph.D. program for Germanic Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis, starting this fall.

And the good news doesn’t stop with the students!  Associate Professor Grant McAllister was recently named the Levison Faculty Fellow.  This is one of a very small number of faculty fellowships awarded each year to the most outstanding teacher-scholars at WFU.  Competition for this honor is extremely rigorous, so a huge congratulations to Dr. McAllister!

Congratulations, everyone!  The joy we get from teaching you is beyond measure.  May your adventures be equally thrilling!
And students: if you have exciting news to share about your plans for next year, let us know so that we can brag about you, too!