Three hundred years ago, the tsar of Russia, Peter the Great, had a vision. Russia was a huge country at the time, full of potential, but isolated and cut off from the rest of Europe. With no access to the ocean, to trade, or to the ideas and innovations of the West, Russia lagged behind in technological and cultural development. If Russia was to grow and develop, and to assert her vast potential to influence the world, she needed a point of contact with Europe.
As a result, in 1703 Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg. A uniquely European city within Russia, St. Petersburg from its inception reflected the values and vision of its founder. St. Petersburg at once became, and remains, the cultural capital of Russia, the point from which ideas enter, influence, and are disseminated throughout the rest of the country. St. Petersburg is a thriving academic and artistic center, with over 450,000 students among its five million inhabitants. Dostoevsky, Mendeleev, Tchaikovsky, Pavlov - all studied, worked, and created from St. Petersburg. The best students from all over Russia still come here to attend university, to be at the center of the confluence of Russian and European cultures, in order to influence all of Russia.
As Russia grew and innovated, her influence and potential changed the course of European and world history. Russia has the potential to influence the course of the world not just politically or economically, but also spiritually. Russia, then as now, has the potential to change the world. Consider coming to study in St. Petersburg to see the truth of the gospel take root in the hearts of the students of this great city.
You may choose to study at either Hertzen University or the St. Petersburg State Technical University. Both universities are renowned throughout Russia, and are the focus of the local Cru movement.
You do not need to use a study abroad agency if your school’s study abroad office is willing to help you with the process. But, if you do utilize a study abroad agency, we recommend AIFS for the Polytechnic University.
Coursework will depend greatly upon the program you are entering, and the amount of Russian language experience you have. For those students who are just learning Russian, classes will focus on language and culture. For more advanced students with Russian language experience, there are many other programs available. Your specific course load will depend on the classes and program you select.
The spring semester typically runs from early February until late May. The fall semester goes from late August until mid-December.
Like much of Europe, Russian students are increasingly postmodern and increasignly neutral or skeptical toward the gospel. Russia has a deep spiritual history, with the Orthodox Church having been the primary source of spiritual truth for almost 1000 years. However, seventy years of communism did much to change the spiritual landscape, and while most students have respect for the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ, most assume a position of agnosticism or atheism. Russian culture as a rule is highly relational, and Russians value depth over breadth in relationships. As a result, the most effective strategies for sharing the gospel in Russia often are relational in nature, and many students need to hear the gospel multiple times before being able to make an informed response. Much of your ministry will involve building relationships and communicating the gospel within them. English language study is very popular among Russian students, and you can count on students being eager to meet you and learn about your culture. English club and movie strategies have been some of the most successful strategies to meet and get to know students, and Russians have always been very interested in getting to know foreigners. So come prepared for lots of conversations, and to sit down and drink Russian tea while showing pictures of your family, friends, and life in the States!
Additionally, you will receive ministry training and personal development. Expect about 15 hours/week of involvement worked around your class work. Don’t worry though, you will still have plenty of time to rest and experience St. Petersburg even while doing ministry.
Although homestays are available, we will encourage you to live in a student residence with other international and Russian students on or near the campus where you choose to study. Along with being a place to call home for the semester, your student residence will also become a great mission field.
Possibly. Some of your class load will involve language study depending on your experience with the Russian language. However, English language study is very popular among Russian students so you will have opportunuties to help them practice their English.
Costs vary somewhat depending on the university, academic program and study abroad provider you choose. You can plan on an approximate total cost of around $15,000 to $20,000 for the semester including airfare, food and housing, in-country travel, administrative fees and tuition. It may be significantly cheaper if your university has a direct exchange with one of the universities.
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