REES Russian language program offers five years of immersive, culture-focused, experiential language instruction in two tracks: traditional (for students who began learning Russian in a classroom, virtual or real) and heritage track (for students who have learned or been exposed to Russian at home or in the community).
In the Russian program we believe that in order to learn most effectively, you need to immerse yourself in the language and culture you are studying to maximize your opportunities to experience how language is used in real-life contexts and to use it yourself. This is why we will speak almost entirely in Russian from day one of all our Russian language classes, even when discussing grammar.
Speaking in Russian the majority of the time will mean that you will certainly be making mistakes. We believe that they are a natural part of the learning process. We want our classes to be a safe environment, where everyone feels free to express their ideas, to challenge themselves, to test their hypotheses about how Russian works, to have fun, to make mistakes and to learn from these mistakes.
In our classes we will learn and use language not for its own sake, but to explore and discuss the real world, to discover and compare different cultures and communities, to learn more about the world and ourselves. We ask our students to be careful and sensitive observers of the cultural phenomena, to think about various aspects of Russian culture in comparison with their own culture(s). We hope that in this process students learn to become sensitive and tolerant, not judgmental, of other perspectives and points of view, even if they are surprising or starkly different from their own.
Frequent interaction is essential to learning to communicate in Russian. All our classes are highly interactive. We hope that all students in our classes will become a close community of friends, who work well together, support each other, who are not afraid to make mistakes in front of each other. This community extends beyond the classroom. We hope that you will want to form study partnerships and attend REES and Russian club events together.
Learning more about yourself as a language learner and becoming an independent, successful, confident learner with knowledge about how language acquisition and learning work and a tested set of tools for language learning is an important part of what we focus on in our courses. Our goal is to give you all the tools necessary for the learning you will do for the rest of your life, after you leave our classes and Penn.
Russian language program offers courses in two tracks: traditional (for students who began learning Russian in a classroom, virtual or real) and heritage track (for students who have learned or been exposed to Russian at home or in the community).
For more information about Russian language program, specific courses, Penn Foreign Language requirement and placement testing, study abroad and other language immersion opportunites, contact Dr. Maria Alley, the Language Program Coordinator.
Students of Russian at Penn may take advantage of a wealth of co-curricular activities sponsored by the Department, the student-led Russian club, and by other units at Penn, including weekly informal conversation gatherings (Russian Tea), lectures, language competitions, film screenings, parties and more. Check our calendar for listings of specific events and dates.
Language Immersion and Study Abroad
Students at all levels of Russian are encouraged to consider language immersion programs as part of their language learning experience while at Penn. Check specific programs and requirements here.