BRLI combines a specially designed curriculum focusing on the language of Russian business with an internship averaging 10-15 hours per week at a multinational company or business in Russia. Moscow International University and the Russian State Pedagogical (Herzen) University in St. Petersburg host this program; students may apply to study for a semester, academic year, or summer. Program features include homestays, weekly excursions, travel to other regions of Russia, conversation partners, and a wide range of opportunities to pursue hobbies and personal interests in a Russian context. The highly individualized BRLI curriculum can be tailored to serve students ranging from intermediate to near native speakers of Russian.
Academics / Courses
The highly flexible BRLI program serves students ranging from intermediate to heritage speakers of Russian. All levels of instruction provide ten to fifteen hours of in-class contact, either in small groups or through individualized instruction. Course offerings vary, but may include topics such as social and economic issues in Russia today, the language of business communication, Russian culture and the workplace, and the fundamentals of business and commercial correspondence in Russian.
Academic year and semester students in Moscow have the option of auditing classes at their host university. In recent years, participants completed courses at their host universities in Art History, Mathematics, Engineering, Sociology, Theater Studies, Russian History, Religion, Psychology, and Literature.
Participants receive academic credit through Bryn Mawr College, an institutional member of American Councils. Upon successful completion of the program, Bryn Mawr College issues:
- 8 undergraduate/10 graduate credit hours for the summer program,
- 16 undergraduate/15 graduate credit hours for the fall or spring semesters, and
- 32 undergraduate/30 graduate credit hours for the academic year program.
Locations & Institutions
BRLI is currently offered in the following locations:
- Moscow International University in Moscow, Russia
- Russian State Pedagogical University (Herzen Institute) in St. Petersburg, Russia
American Councils arranges unpaid, non-credit bearing internships based upon each participant's language ability and field of interest. Internships are available in regional offices of U.S. businesses, U.S.-Russian joint venture companies, press offices, Russian-owned businesses, international trade organizations, and a wide range of non-profits. Classes are held four days a week, allowing participants to spend one full day per week at their internships.
Recent program participants completed internships at:
- MISiS FabLab
- U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce
- AVC Advisory
- Carnegie Moscow Center
- Center for Humanitarian Aid
- Jensen Group
Participants completing internships in business, innovation, and STEM fields are eligible for special scholarship support from American Councils through the Business, Technology, and Innovation (BTI) Scholarship. Learn more about the BTI Scholarship and eligibility here.
To aid cultural integration and support academic learning, participants have the opportunity to meet with conversation partners two hours per week. Conversation partners introduce participants to local people, accompany participants on sightseeing tours, organize cultural activities (cinema, museum, etc.), and provide students with academic support. The conversation partners are expected to speak only the target language.
Excursions & Cultural Activities
One day a week of the academic program is set aside for travel to local sites of social, cultural and historical significance. All excursions are conducted in Russian and include sites such as museums, churches, schools, research centers, theatres, and historical estates. BRLI participants attend excursions with participants on the Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program (RLASP).
At approximately mid-semester, resident directors arrange a week-long regional field studies trip outside of the host city. For summer participants, these regional field studies take place at the end of their program. BRLI and RLASP groups in Russia have visited sites such as Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-na-Donu, Samara, Sochi, Suzdal, Volgograd, and Yaroslavl.
Housing & Meals
Program participants have the option to live in a university dormitory or with a host family.
Living with a host family provides valuable cultural experience to complement the academic program. Host families expose participants to authentic, everyday life in the host country while also providing a supportive environment for students to practice their growing language skills. While staying with a host family, participants are provided with a private room, two meals per day, and keys to the apartment or house. All host families are screened, selected, and monitored by American Councils home-stay coordinators and resident directors.
Participants who choose the dormitory option share a room with other American Councils participants or with other international students. Two meals a day are provided.
All program participants are required to attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation in Washington, D.C. at the start of the program. Orientation sessions address health and safety, academic and business culture, host-family life, culture shock, and strategies to maximize language gain. Students will also have a chance to meet and get to know their resident directors, fellow participants, and alumni during the orientation. Lodging and meals will be provided. Upon arrival in the host country, participants attend an informative in-country orientation.
While overseas, participants have access to in-country program staff that provide around-the-clock emergency support. A full-time resident director oversees the academic and cultural program; assists participants in academic, administrative and personal matters; and coordinates activities with the host institution faculty. During the program, the AC Study Abroad Team in Washington, D.C. stays in close contact via email and telephone with in-country program staff and provides updates as needed to study abroad offices, university partners, and family members.
Participants are enrolled in comprehensive overseas health, accident, and evacuation insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) for the duration of the program. CISI provides medical coverage of up to $250,000 per accident or illness. Enrollment in the CISI plan also provides full coverage for emergency medical evacuation.
All participants are provided with a single-entry visa to the host-country for the duration of the academic program. It is the student's responsibility to obtain any other visas required by their individual itineraries. Visa application information and forms are provided upon acceptance to the program.
With support from a wide range of funders, American Councils has established several scholarships to support U.S. students engage in overseas study. All applicants to American Councils summer, semester, or academic-year overseas programs are eligible for partial scholarship awards from the American Councils Outbound Scholarship Fund, which include:
- AC Study Abroad Need-Based Scholarship
- AC Study Abroad Diversity Scholarship
- Business, Techology, and Innovation (BTI) Scholarship
- Language & Area Studies Scholarship
- Alumni Scholarship
Awards are made on the basis of financial need, program compatibility, and academic merit, and typically range from $500 to $2,500. The BTI Scholarship award ranges from $3,000 to $5,000 to eligible finalists.
Visit our Financial Aid page for more information on scholarship and funding opportunities through American Councils and outside sources.