My name is David D’Eon. I am a student from Canada currently enrolled in the Master’s program, Political governance and public policy (in English).
As a part of my program, I am required to submit research at the end of a two-year period. The program right now does not offer any Russian language courses for foreign students. This has become a serious impediment to my learning, as the program focuses on Russian politics, my research focuses on Russian politics, but I am unable to access Russian language sources because my level of Russian is very, very basic.
I have spoken with my supervisor, and she has told me directly that there is no way I will be able to do my research without learning Russian. I have spoken with the director of this program, Professor Smorgunov, and he agrees with me that it is necessary for me to learn Russian, and that I should be able to receive this education through this university.
The crux of the reason why I have been speaking to Professor Smorgunov and my supervisor about getting this support through the university is because I am a student, and quite simply, in order to take the intensive courses I would need to enroll in (four hours in the morning every day), the expense would be significant. It would place a serious and unexpected financial burden on me that will be very difficult for me to bear.
I have been told to reach out to you, and that you might be able to help me get enrolled in one of the existing language programs at this unversity. I am not even asking for credit, I simply need an opportunity to learn.
The answer of Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods:
Dear Mr. D'Eon,
Learning Russian as a foreign language is beyond the scope of the competency-based curriculum of our full-time master's degree program "Political Governance and Public Policy (in English)" in the main field of study 41.04.04 "Political Science" (program code ВМ.5660.2019), curriculum registration number 19/5660/1.
To those willing to learn Russian we offer a non-degree program titled "Russian as a Foreign Language. General Course", designed by and implemented at St Petersburg University. This course has a modular structure, from the beginner's (elementary) level to the proficiency level of Russian language expertise. The minimum duration of the course is 4 weeks and the tuition fee makes up 40,000 rubles. Classes are organized in groups, 20 academic hours a week.
The University also offers short-term non-degree programs titled "Russian as a Foreign Language. Short-Term Course" (1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks). Such courses aim to help students enhance their Russian language proficiency, in particular, their speaking skills, and raise cultural awareness of Russia and St. Petersburg. The tuition fee for one student in the 2019/2020 academic year is 9,100 rubles for a one-week course; 18,000 rubles for a two-week course; and 27,000 rubles for a three-week course, with the minimum number of 10 students in a group.
For details please see section Russian for Foreigners at http://www.russian4foreigners.spbu.ru/en, a part of St Petersburg University's official website. You may also consult the following teaching methodology specialists in Russian as a foreign language at our Center for Non-Degree Programs: Nataliya Nikolaevna Kiseleva or Olesya Nikolaevna Lashchevskaya, phone +7 (812) 323-46-82, e-mail email@example.com.