What can I do on my year abroad?
Going to Russia
Our year abroad scheme is organised through the Russian Language Undergraduate Studies Consortium (RLUS). Sheffield University is one of the many British universities that successfully cooperate with RLUS in arranging their Year Abroad programmes.
Where will I study in Russia?
RLUS offers you courses in five Russian cities to choose from: the bustling cities of Moscow and St Petersburg, and Yaroslavl and Tver - smaller and cosier Russian towns which still preserve an authentic Russian aura in their architecture and enjoy a more tranquil rhythm of life. A newer addition to the range of RLUS options is spectacular Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, one of the autonomous regions of the Russian Federation, with its breathtaking eclectic blend of Russian Orthodox churches and Muslim mosques. Like Yaroslavl, Kazan stands on the banks of the Volga, the most famous of the Russian rivers, and its location adds to the beauty of the city.
The courses in those cities are provided by various organisations, all with long experience of teaching Russian as a foreign language. You can visit the sites of those institutions if you go to the links below.
Russian Language Courses for Moscow, Yaroslavl and Tver are organized by the Language Link language school. In St Petersburg, you can choose from two courses: St Petersburg State University and the Benedict Language School. If you choose to go to Kazan, you will study Russian at Kazan University.
Russian Language courses differ in length, from 36 weeks over two semesters to 13 weeks in one semester, and your choice will depend on your degree. At Sheffield, the overall minimum number of weeks you are required to spend abroad is 30 weeks, regardless of your degree: you’ll go to Russia for both semesters (for single honours students or those studying Russian and a non-language subject, eg. History), or you’ll spend one semester in Russia and the other in the country of your other language.
Language Link in Moscow and Tver, and the Benedict Language School in St Petersburg offer whole-year courses of 36 and 32 weeks, as well as one semester courses of 13,16 and 18 weeks. Other institutions offer 13, 16 and 18-week courses in autumn or in spring.
Our Year Abroad Programme in Russia involves study only and does not include work placements. This is because Russian is such a difficult language that you will need to focus all your attention on mastering it and gaining fluency. And you will achieve that by the end of your Year Abroad: you will have 16-20 hours of Russian Language per week and you will be exposed to spoken and written Russian all around you! However, while in Russia you may have a chance to use your Russian in a professional environment, in your free time outside classes. For example, students can sometimes organise an internship with the St Petersburg Times, an English- language newspaper, where they get the opportunity to work on editing and proof-reading. Some students obtain occasional work as English teachers for children or adults. Students who study in St Petersburg often have the opportunity of unpaid work in the Hermitage and Winter Palace Gallery, assisting foreign tourists round the museum. They can spend hours in one of the world’s best galleries and museums!
Where will I live?
In most cases, students are expected to stay with a Russian hostess (khozyaika) and their family in their apartment, where you will have your own room. Students usually prefer that to living in a hall of residence or hostel as this lets you experience the real Russia - meeting real Russian people and speaking the language every day. Many students make lifelong bonds with their host family and say they have their khozyaika to thank for their vastly improved Russian.
In some cities, you will also have an option to live in a hall of residence or hostel, sometimes sharing a room with another student. Your accommodation will be arranged by your receiving institution, but sometimes students may arrange their own accommodation, which should be agreed with the Sheffield University Year Abroad coordinator and RLUS.
FAQ: Is there any reason to worry about going to Russia?
As you will be away from home for so long, it is natural to want to confirm that Russia is a safe place to study.
Moscow and St. Petersburg are major metropolises, and it is worth remembering that these kind of areas tend to see more petty crime than somewhere like Sheffield, which is Britain's safest big city. As a foreigner you may feel like a more likely target, but if you exercise the same care there as you would in a large British city you are unlikely to experience difficulties.
Along with the RLUS consortium, which organises our year abroad programmes, we provide orientation for you before you leave. We monitor political events in Russia closely, and will not send you into uncertain situations. RLUS have their professional resident representatives in Moscow and St Petersburg to whom students can address their concerns. If you study in a smaller city and need the help of RLUS rep, they will come and visit you promptly.
If you wish to find out more about RLUS and more details of our Year Abroad programme in Russia, you can go to the RLUS website or get in touch with the Year Abroad Coordinator of the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, Ms Marianna Ivanova by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Going to Poland
Students studying Polish spend a semester on an intensive Polish course at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland. The program will improve your language skills while teaching you about Polish culture, history and society.
You can find some general information about the course here. Please note that we cover the tuition fees.
Going to the Czech Republic
During the semester in the Czech Republic, you can attend one of our partner universities, either Charles University in Prague or Masaryk University in Brno.
You will take Czech language, literature and culture courses tailored specifically for foreign students, as well as other modules alongside Czech students.
Summer scholarships in Poland or the Czech Republic
If you are studying Polish or Czech as the 'minor' component in a BA Modern Languages, you have the option of studying at a language school in Poland or the Czech Republic over the summer between your second year and year abroad.
These scholarships are a fully funded opportunity to improve your language skills and see a new country. The course will involve a three- or four-week language course with students from across Europe, along with activities such as cultural visits and beer tasting.