St. Petersburg

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Course Descriptions

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St. Petersburg, Russia Study Abroad Program: One program – Five countries (In addition to spending 4 weeks in St. Petersburg, program participants will visit Finland, Sweden, and Estonia as a part of a 4 day-cruise and an overnight in Frankfurt, Germany on their return back to Atlanta).  


Group in front of dormsFew cities offer the stunning attractions of St. Petersburg, City of the Tsars. Created by Peter the Great as his “Window on Europe,” St. Petersburg is often referred to as the Venice of the north as it combines its Russian heritage with a European outlook. As one of the world’s architectural treasures, the city provides a backdrop filled with gold-domed cathedrals and Baroque palaces, museums, and ornate government buildings all of which seem to flow into the canals and waterways that divide the city. The natural beauty of the city is enhanced in June and July as the city experiences “White Nights,” a blending of twilight into dawn giving the city almost 24 hours of daylight.  The program offers excursions to several of the palaces and stately homes of Russian tsars that surround the city including Peterhoff, a magnificent palace with fountains flowing down to the Baltic, and Catherine’s Palace with its renowned amber room. Experience the music, art, literature, good food and great entertainment offered by this splendid city, St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Web Links About the Program

Guy by RiverProgram Location

Considered the cultural heart of modern Russia, St. Petersburg, also known as the "Venice of the North" is one of the architectural treasures of Europe. The city is quickly gaining a reputation around the world as a city known for its culture and exciting night life. From classical ballet and opera to modern rock and traditional Russian folk music, and sports, the city offers something for everyone. Few cities can boast as many museums as St. Petersburg. From the Hermitage to the Russian Museum, the Natural Science Museum, the state Museum of Ethnography, culture abounds in St. Petersburg. There's even a vodka Museum, Bread Museum, and Chocolate Museum. In June and July the city's nightlife is enhanced by "White Nights," twenty-four hours of daylight where the people of the city seem to shop, eat, and party all night. The palaces and stately homes provide a glimpse into a time when tsars ruled the county. In the post-Soviet period, St. Petersburg has regained its reputation as a city of Soviet period, St. Petersburg has regained its reputation as a city of sophisticated, urban people with a taste for the good things in life.

Program Dates and Structure

Participants depart for St. Petersburg from Atlanta June 28 and return July 29, 2014. On the return from St. Petersburg the group will have an overnight stop in Frankfurt, Germany.  Classes are three-hour courses and there is a two-hour required Russian Culture course.  Each course meets in class sessions two days a week and has a required day-long field experience each week. Weekends involve planned group excursions to important cultural and historical sites in the St. Petersburg area.    

KremlinA special feature of the program is a cruise from St. Petersburg to Helsinki (Finland), Stockholm, (Sweden) and Tallin (Estonia), departing on Thursday evening and returning to St. Petersburg on Monday morning. Students will get a chance to see three additional countries that have close historical and geographical ties to Russia. Participants will spend 4 nights onboard Princess Anastasia and will receive 4 buffet breakfasts and 4 buffet dinners. Students will need to have extra money for souvenirs, entry fees to museums on shore, lunch, etc 

The program also provides an optional three-day excursion to Russia’s capital city of Moscow.  Guided tours of the city and of the Kremlin and its museums and churches, a visit to Red Square, a walking tour of old Moscow, and a visit to a world-famous Russian circus are included in the excursion.

Program Costs

The package cost of $4,950 for the four-week program includes: Round-trip airfare from Atlanta to Russia, Russian Visa, transportation from the airport to the campus and return to the airport, breakfast every day, a primary health insurance policy providing coverage for medical expenses, 4 day Baltic Sea cruise which stops in Finland, Sweden, and Estonia (breakfast buffet and dinner buffet included every night), an overnight stay in Frankfurt, Germany on the return flight back to Atlanta, 40 trips on the on the St. Petersburg subway system, and a primary health insurance policy providing coverage for medical expenses.

The package cost does not include tuition, additional meals, fieldtrips associated with the classes, passport and related expenses, spending money, travel to Atlanta, or other costs beyond those listed above. 

Dinner Time

Health Matters and Insurance

Participants are provided with health-care from CISI insurance (Cultural Insurance Services International) that covers them while they are abroad. Students with special medical problems may be required to provide a physician's assurance of their ability to undertake foreign travel and study. It is not possible for the European Council to guarantee accessible facilities abroad for students with special needs.

Participants should bring medications they regularly depend upon and should have copies of prescriptions in generic form in case they need to acquire additional medications. 

No special immunizations are needed to enter Russia, and the International Immunization Certificate is not required.

Passports and Visas

Students taking part in the program will be required to obtain a visa in addition to having a valid passport. Passports must be valid for at least six months into the future after the end of the program. If you passport expires on or before December 30th, 2014 then in accordance with Russia Visa rules and regulations you must apply for a new passport. Non US citizens should contact the program director to determine if a Visa is required. Participants are required to e-mail a scan of the information page from their passport to the European Council no later than March 8, 2014 . Passport scans received after that date will be subject to a $100 late fee.

In order to obtain an invitation, which is the first step toward obtaining a visa, you must send a scanned copy of the information page of your passport to Irina McClellan at by March 8, 2014. Once students supply the European Council with their passports, the European Council will provide you with instructions on how to obtain a Visa for travel to Russia.

Please note that the group will be traveling to Russia on a 30-day Tourist Visa. If you plan to extend your stay in Russia beyond the length of the program, you will need to notify the program director and apply for a 90-day Student Visa, which will have additional requirements, including an HIV-test (the test results are valid for three months prior to visa application thus the test should be taken in April or May 2014 and the results should be available by the time of the mandatory student orientation on May 17, 2014).

Gulf of Finland

For everything you may need to know about getting a passport click on the link below:

State Department - Passport Services and Information

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The site for the four-week program is the campus of St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University (SSPU), one of the city’s oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning in Russia. Located in a safe residential area, the site offers access to St. Petersburg’s theatres, museums, historical landmarks, and lively nightlife.  

Dormitory facilities are provided at St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University’s international building referred to as IMOP. Students stay in large double suites, with two students in each room. Each suite shares a bathroom and kitchenette complete with a refrigerator and a microwave oven. Internet and phone access is also available in each room. A cafeteria and laundry facilities are located at IMOP.  The cafeteria staff strives to provide a balance of traditional Russian meals with the occasional American standard.  Breakfast will be offered everyday as part of the program; however hot lunches can be purchased at the university's cafeteria on weekdays. 


Group and Optional Excursions

The program includes several planned group excursions which allow you the opportunity to tour palaces, and museums and experience Russian culture.

Opera HouseExcursions will include

Moscow Excursion
A special feature of the program is an optional three-day excursion to the capital city of Moscow. The trip begins with an overnight train ride followed by a bus tour of the city. Students discover the treasures of Red Square with guided tours of the Kremlin including its museums and churches. Moscow gives students a different perspective on Russian history and culture. A visit to the world famous Russian circus and a walking our of the city are also included. The cost for the excursion is an additional $600.

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Red SquareProgram Costs

The package cost of $4950 for the four-week program includes:

  • Roundtrip airfare between Atlanta and St. Petersburg
  • 4 day Baltic Sea cruise to Finland, Estonia, and Sweden (breakfast buffet and dinner buffet included)
  • Overnight stay in Frankfurt, Germany on the return flight back to Atlanta
  • Accommodations in St. Petersburg for the full four weeks
  • Breakfast everyday in St. Petersburg
  • Roundtrip transportation between the St. Petersburg airport and the campus
  • Travel pass good for 40 trips on St. Petersburg subway system
  • Six tours of the city and suburbs that include the city’s most significant museums and other landmarks
  • A primary health insurance policy providing coverage for medical expenses
  • Visa registration fees
  • A farewell party

The package cost does not include tuition, textbooks, passport and related expenses, spending money, travel to or from Atlanta, or any other costs beyond those listed above.

The cost of the Moscow excursion is $600. This includes roundtrip train travel between St. Petersburg and Moscow, 2 days in Moscow, hotel accommodations in central Moscow for 2 nights, guided tours of the city and the Kremlin, admission to the Russian circus, and breakfasts while in Moscow.

Students should plan to budget a minimum of $1500 for souvenirs, theater tickets, entrance fees, and evening entertainment. Some course excursions might involve additional fees; course instructors will inform students if such fees apply.

All costs are subject to change because of unanticipated increases in airfares or other program elements or fluctuations in monetary exchange rates. The European Council makes every effort to keep program costs as advertised and will inform prospective participants of any changes as they occur.

A $200, non-refundable application fee is due at the time of application. This fee is part of the total program cost. Payments can be made by credit card or debit card through the EC website.

WeaponPayment Deadlines

March 3, 2014 - Application form and $200 application fee due
March 10, 2014 - First payment of $2375due
April 8, 2014 - Final payment of $2375 due
April 18, 2014 - Payment of $600 for the optional Moscow Excursion due

Application fees & other payments are applied toward purchase of airline tickets and other costs related to the program. Note the $200 application fee is non-refundable and covers processing and reservation fees. Participants who withdraw from a program after the application deadline receive a refund according to the following schedule:

Withdrawal before March 10

all but $200 will be refunded

Withdrawal between March 11 and March 18

all but $400 will be refunded

Withdrawal between March 19 and April 1

all but $850 will be refunded

Withdrawal between April 2 and April 30

all but $2000 will be refunded

Withdrawal after April 30

No money will be refunded

Courses in the 2014 summer program in St. Petersburg are part of the regular course offerings of member institutions; therefore, students may apply for loans or grants for which they would normally be eligible. Students should apply for financial aid at the campus where they are registering for courses. Campus representatives will assist students in obtaining information about financial aid.

Students must meet all campus requirements in applying for financial aid.

Students should plan to budget a minimum of $200 per week for additional meals. If students plan extended travel outside of St. Petersburg area or major shopping, additional funds should be budgeted. For more information, contact program director.

Important deadlines:

Application Due- March 3rd (spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis and students are encouraged to apply early)

First Payment- March 10th

Final Payment- April 8th 

-4 passport photos due March 8th ($100 late fee if not received IN OFFICE by 5pm on this date)

-An electronic copy of your passport is due March 8th. Faxed and Mailed copies are not accepted. ($100 late fee if not received by email by 5pm on this date)

-An all-day*Mandatory* planning meeting on May 17th in Milledgeville, Georgia at Georgia College & State University.

PeterhoffFlight Deviation/Separate Airfare

Airfare is included in the price of the program. However, if you wish to arrive to Europe sooner, or stay later, there is a *possibility* that you can do this at an additional expense to you. Students are also allowed to do 100% of their airfare; however, in order to keep our group rate only a certain number of students may do this and must receive authorization from the EC Coordinator. If you are given, permission to do your own airfare,there will be a deduction from your SECOND payment. All deviation and separate airfare request must be submitted by April 8th and these opportunities are provided on a first come, first serve basis. All requests submitted after April 8th will be denied. 

*Please keep in mind that if you plan extended travel in Russia you will need to contact your program director ASAP as this will affect your Visa. 


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Course Descriptions

LD- Lower Division UD-Upper Division

The exact course number will differ from institution to institution. Check with the college or university where you plan to register to determine the course number that will be assigned to the class. All courses, with the exception of the two credit hour Culture course, provide three credit hours. To find out more information about any of the courses contact the program director by e-mail.



Please chose one course

World History II (LD)

Dr. Elaine MacKinnon (University of West Georgia)

This course takes you on a journey through the history of our world since 1500. We will survey major political, economic, social, and intellectual developments in world history by examining key locations across the globe. The course will selectively probe specific eras, movements, events, and societies, and in particular the interactions of peoples and societies over time, wherein lie the roots of today's global interdependence. You will gain a chronological sense of major historical events and movements as well as an understanding of why and how they took place, and you will compare different ways of life, cultural expression, and state formations.

Urban Social Problems in Russia & the U.S. (UD)

Dr. Thomas Hochschild (Valdosta State University)

St. Petersburg showcases beautiful architecture, museums, gardens, cafes, and a vibrant nightlife. Like many of the world’s great metropolises, however, St. Petersburg encounters social problems such as poverty, drug use, violence, and homelessness. In this course, you will analyze and compare social problems in Russian and U.S. cities. Rather than being passive learners, this course will put you in the role of “active social change agent” as you perform community service throughout St. Petersburg.   

Latvia GroupRussian Language (LD/UD)

Dr. Irina Gladkikh, St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University

 Three credit hours for one of the following Russian language courses: 1001, 1002, 2001, 2002, 3001, or 3002. Placement test are administered before classes begin. Field trips are designed to allow students to practice language skills and include visits to a supermarket, restaurants, walks around the University neighborhood, and other opportunities to apply the language skills acquired in class.

St. Petersburg in War and Revolution (UD)
Dr. Maria Chumovitskaya (St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University)

This course will examine the cultural, social, and political history of St. Petersburg, a major center of both Russian and European history. It will focus on how residents of this city experienced war and revolution in the early modern and modern ages. It begins by considering St. Petersburg as the birthplace of Russia as a European empire and as a major center of Enlightenment thought. It then examines how this city in an age of revolution led to intellectual and cultural trends that challenged the tsarist state and Russian society. The course next turns to St. Petersburg as the epicenter of Russia’s revolutions of 1905 and 1917 that brought the end of the old order and the beginnings of the Soviet Union’s experiment in socialism. It concludes by considering how this city, as Leningrad, served as a defender of Russia’s revolutionary heritage during the Russian Civil War, the upheavals of the 1920's and 1930's, and lastly during World War Two. Students will be expected to gain a greater appreciation for Russia’s role in world history and European history, as well as important skills in writing and historical analysis.

International Economic Relations (UD)

Dr. Elena Vdovina (St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University)

The course explores issues of international economic relations including trade, financial markets, lending and investment. Russia’s economy will be looked at from the international perspective – adapting to new realities as an emerging economy. Russia’s multiple resources bothorr rrn business from various areas (oil, gas, high tech, etc). Russia’s attempt to more actively participate in international economic processes (WTO, EBRD) will be explored. The controversies of Russia’s governmental measures in economic spheres affecting companies’ policy are also focused on.  


Please choose only one

The Cauldron of Revolution: Russian Politics and Society 1905-1921

Dr. Elaine MacKinnon (University of West Georgia)

In this course you will study the process of revolution in the very city where Russia’s three revolutions took place. You will explore Russian history, politics, and society between 1905, the year of the first Russian Revolution, and 1921, which marked the end of the Russian Civil War and the victory of the Bolshevik Party which had come to power through the October Revolution of 1917. You will study motive forces for revolution; the nature of revolutionary leadership; the role of parties and institutions; different historiographical understandings of these events; and the change over time in Russia’s memory, commemoration, and interpretation of these events.

Introduction to Sociology (LD)

Dr. Thomas Hochschild (Valdosta State University)

With Russia’s “cultural capital” as your backdrop, you will develop a cross-cultural perspective on a variety of social issues. In addition to exploring the world famous Hermitage Museum and other important sites, you will learn about the everyday life of Russian urbanites as you take in the sights and sounds of one of the world’s great cities. 

Class TripRussian Literature (LD/UD)

Dr. Tatiana Shustrova (St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University)
Imagine reading Russian literature on the banks of the Neva River or visiting the former apartments of famous Russian Writers. This course surveys Russian works in English translation. Students study the works of Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Gogol, Zamiatin, and Bulgakov. Field trips include visits to the Russian National Library, the Dostoevsky Museum, and other important landmarks of Russian literature.

Russian Business Culture & Business Environment

Dr. Tatiana Khvatova (St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University)

Pre-Requistes: Principles of Micro Economics AND Principles of Macro Economics

This course is aimed at giving students information about Russian business culture and business environment in Russia. Key concepts of Russian business culture (collectivism, egalitarianism and soul) are considered together with structure and hierarchy in Russian companies, working relationships in Russia, business practices in Russia, attitude towards foreign partners, gender aspects etc. Such partial things as business dress code, meals and business etiquette, gifts are also taken into consideration. Course related field trips will include visits to the Russian Business Angels Association, Business incubator Ingria, and Baltica Brewery. 

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Apply to the Program

Directions on how to apply: 

  1. Download and complete the European Council application
  2. Turn the application to your campus representative. If you do not know who your representative is click here
  3. After you submit your application to your campus rep, please pay the $200 non-refundable application fee.

Bear Love*Your application will not be processed until we receive BOTH your application and $200 deposit.

** Spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis. Some programs will fill as early as November. Once a program is full, students will be placed on the waitlist. Please do not be discouraged if you’re placed on the waitlist as we always anticipate a 15% drop.

 Any full-time or part-time student is eligible to participate in the program as long as the student will be 18 years of age by the time of departure.  Students from institutions that are not part of the University System of Georgia must become a transient student at Valdosta State University. Click here for information on becoming a transient at Valdosta State University

An application form is available above; copies of the form are also available from campus representatives listed on this site. Completed applications should be submitted to the campus representatives, along with a required application fee of $200 (to be paid online). Campus representatives forward completed applications to the program office at Valdosta State University.  Applications will not be processed by the EC office until both the application form (approved by the campus representative) and the $200 application fee are received.

Because of space limitations, acceptance is on a first come, first served basis, according to the date of receipt of the application and application fee.  Students are encouraged to apply well in advance of the application deadline to assure them of a place in the program.

The application deadline for the 2014 program is March 3, 2014.

Students must be in good standing in order to be admitted to the program. Completion of an application form does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Note also that individual campuses may require letters of reference or other information beyond that required by the European Council. 

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Happy in RussiaIf you do not have a campus contact or are unable to obtain the information that you need, please write or call Valdosta State University, the coordinating institution for the European Council, at the following address:

Beverly Vantine

European Council Coordinator

PH: 229-259-2591

Irina McClellan

 Russia Program Director


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