Summer Language Intensive (SLI) at Smolny

We recommend that students participate in an immersive summer language program before entering the Smolny College semester program. There are many choices for student summers in both Russia and the United States, and we encourage you to consider enrolling in our own Summer Language Intensive (SLI). Both four- and eight-week long programs are offered.

Academic Program

The Bard-Smolny Summer Language Intensive (SLI) provides challenging courses for students who have completed between two and six semesters of college-level Russian or its equivalent.* Students can choose to enroll for four or eight weeks;  the four-week program focuses on solidifying language concepts already covered while improving language skills, and the eight-week program is the equivalent of one year of Russian at a North American institution and covers text such as V Puti, Grammatika V Kontekste, and Advanced Russian through History. Students' Russian level will be measured with a short assessment administered at the time of application.

The SLI is intensive, with twenty-two hours of class per week, daily quizzes and written assignments, and weekly tests.  Class sizes are small (typically 8-10 students) with coursework that emphasizes vocabulary acquisition, grammar comprehension, reading improvement, and writing achievement, as well as verbal and aural precision. Language is taught in conjunction with our cultural program, which integrates academic experience with a feel for the city of St. Petersburg.

Coursework for upper-level students includes a thematic workshop that focuses on language learning through content-specific instruction.  Past workshops have included Russian politics, literature, and art history.

Upon successful completion of the program, students receive a transcript from Bard College.  Students earn four credits in the four-week program and eight credits in the eight-week program.  Please check with your home institution prior to enrolling in the program in order to ensure that credits issues from Bard for SLI will transfer. 

*Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate heritage speakers or students with advanced language skills (7+ semesters of college-level Russian).

The Immersion Experience

The Bard-Smolny Summer Language Intensive (SLI) strives to provide participants with a total immersion experience:

  • A Russian-only policy at Smolny and during cultural excursions
  • Interaction with Russian students working as peer tutors
  • “Russian Table” lunch with instructors, classmates, and peer tutors
  • Homework sessions with faculty and tutors for extra help or conversation practice
  • Excursions to St. Petersburg’s world-renowned cultural sites such as the Hermitage and the Mariinsky Theater
  • Participation in either our Russian choir or theater program
  • Home-stays with Russian families

Sample Daily Schedule

9:00 a.m. Breakfast at home; travel to Smolny
10:00 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Classes
1:20 - 2:00 p.m. "Russian Table"  lunch with instructors )
2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Homework sessions (optional)
3:30 - 4:30 p.m. Group cultural excursion or extra-curricular activity (optional)
6:30 p.m. Dinner with host family

Program Dates, Costs, and Scholarships

  • The 4-week program typically runs from mid-June through mid-July.
  • The 8-week program is generally offered from mid-June through early-August.
  • All participants travel together to St. Petersburg from New York on a group flight and participate in a one-day orientation upon arrival.
  • Actual program dates vary slightly from year to year. 

2014 Program Dates

June 12 Depart JFK on group flight
June 13 Arrival in St. Petersburg
June 14 Orientation; move into host families
June 16 Russian language classes begin
July 13 Departure for four-week students
August 10 Departure for eight-week students

Program Costs

The program fee will depend on whether you enroll in the 4- or 8-week program and will vary from year to year.   Fees are subject to change at the discretion of the program.


How to Apply

The 2014 SLI application deadline is March 01, 2014. The 2014 application is currently available online.

Apply now!

For More Information, please fill out an inquiry form, or contact us at the Institute for International Liberal Education at Bard College for more information or with any questions.