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Middlebury School in Russia: Irkutsk
Irkutsk, Russia (Abroad Opportunities Program)
|Website||Click to visit|
|Program Type:||2. Sponsored Programs, 3. Direct/External Programs||Language of Instruction:||Russian|
|Abroad Opportunities:||Study Abroad||Minimum GPA:||2.7|
If there is one thing that remains constant in Russia, it is rapid change. The mental snapshots that students take home from Russia are very different from those they bring with them. Language learning happens in the classroom. Cultural insight happens in places like the home, theater, recital hall, cafeteria, and supermarket.
Irkutsk is a regional cultural center with spectacular natural attributes whose winters are among the sunniest of any major city in Russia. The life and history of the city are closely tied to Lake Baikal, known as the Pearl of Siberia, the world's deepest fresh-water lake. Baikal's 80 percent endemic species thrive in a vast body containing one-fifth of the world's fresh water. Students can learn about the lake's ecology while simultaneously benefiting from the region's recreational opportunities. The city of 600,000 is host to multiple universities and is full of students who are active in all walks of Russian cultural life. Irkutsk boasts several theaters and museums, and the plentiful social and cultural outlets should assuage any fears about Siberian isolation. Past students have taken advantage of Irkutsk's proximity to Mongolia and China, as well as to the Russian Far East, for travel during vacations or after the conclusion of the academic program.
Students take courses at the Middlebury center in Russian language, literature, culture, politics, and history, with particular focus on regional Siberian studies, while Irkutsk State University, Middlebury's host institution, offers mainstream courses in biology, geography, and geology that focus on Lake Baikal, in addition to a full range of liberal arts disciplines.