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  • Locations: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Description:
Russian Summer Language Intensive Bishkek

Bard College is excited to announce a new Russian Summer Language Intensive to be held at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Bard’s longstanding partner in Central Asia. The program will combine intensive study of the Russian language with an academic course taught in English to contextualize Central Asia’s historical, cultural and contemporary ties to Russia and the former Soviet Union. 

Academic Program: The six-week program will consist of two four-credit courses:

Beginners to Intermediate: Transitional Russian Language Course

This 4-credit Russian language course aims to improve communication, reading, and writing skills of students who have just completed two semesters of Russian studies at their home institutions in preparation for an Intermediate-level Russian language course in the fall. The goal of the course is to bring students’ vocabulary and grammar to a more sophisticated level, expanding their beginner lexicon of approximately 800-1,000 words to twice as much in the course of six weeks of dialogues, hands-on reading and comprehension exercises, writing drills, and special online activities connected to the group’s exposure and response to the rich history, natural beauty, and the unique cultural character of Central Asia. The primary method of the course is communicative and dialogical. In addition to two and a half hours of in-classroom activities every day, students will be expected to work with tutors, complete intensive homework assignments, and contribute daily to their online projects outside of the classroom. The course will be taught parallel to a 4-credit Russian and Eurasian Studies Seminar, Post-Soviet Central Asia: Sovereignty, Community, and Cultural Self-Expression (in English).

Post-Soviet Central Asia: Sovereignty, Community, and Cultural Self-Expression 

This course aims to introduce students to the former Soviet Central Asian region from historical, political, economic and cultural perspectives. It will address a variety of issues such as the incorporation of Central Asia into the Russian Empire, reforms of the Bolsheviks, the creation of Soviet nationalities, Perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The course will explore changes experienced by Kyrgyz and other Central Asian traditional cultures during the Soviet period, the development of Soviet professional culture, including cinema, literature and the arts, the process of ethnic and religious awakening, and the revival of Islam and Islamic values in the socio-political life of the region. It will further reflect on nation and state-building in the newly independent states of Central Asia, their recent political and economic developments, and their relationships with Russia and other political actors in Eurasia. The course will meet four times per week, with students required to attend three additional faculty-led excursions in Bishkek. In addition to class participation and reading assignments, students will be required to complete two short papers and give an in-class presentation. 

Russian Table Lunch: Daily Russian table lunch will be held with Russian-speaking peer-tutors, faculty and staff from the program to give participants the opportunity to practice Russian skills learned in the classroom in a comfortable exchange. 

Homework Sessions: Daily homework sessions will be held in which peer tutors and language faculty will be available to assist students with their homework, go over points of particular difficulty, answer questions related to daily-life in Bishkek, or simply for students to practice speaking Russian.

Cultural Program: The Summer Intensive will include an extensive cultural program to introduce participants to the culture, history, society and natural beauty of Kyrgyzstan. I will include weekly excursions in Bishkek, and day and overnight weekend trips to sights of interest in Kyrgyzstan including the stunning Lake Issyk-Kul and Ala-Archa Nature Park in the Tian Shan Mountains.

Extracurricular Programming: Students will be invited to participate in various extracurricular activities such as a Russian choir, master classes in traditional folk-arts and cuisine, and regional sports and games. 

Homestays: Participants will stay with local Russian-speaking families in Bishkek, giving them the opportunity to experience daily life in Kyrgyzstan while immersing themselves in a Russian language environment. Homestays will include two meals a day during the week and three meals on weekends. 

Orientation: A three-day orientation will be held for students upon arrival to help acclimate them to Bishkek before moving to host families and beginning the academic program. 

Sample Daily Schedule:

9:00 - 10:15 Russian Language

10:30 - 11:45 Russian Language

12:00 - 1:15 Post-Soviet Central Asia

1:30 - 2:15 Russian Table Lunch

2:15 - 3:15 Homework Session

3:15 - 5:30 Excursion

Key Facts: 

Dates: Wednesday June 8 – Sunday July 24, 2022

Location: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Total academic credits: 8

Cost: $7,500

The program cost includes the academic program, cultural program, Russian table lunch, homestays, travel from a New York area airport to Bishkek, visa support and all other aspects of the program. It does not include local transportation in Bishkek (estimated at $200) or students’ personal expenses (eating out, personal care products, souvenirs, etc.). Scholarships are available.

Application Deadline: March 4, 2022

This program is currently not accepting applications.