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Why Study Russian?


Placement and FL Exemption Testing

Russian Language Course Resources

Study Abroad in Russia

Other Resources for Studying Russian

Resources for Russian Cultural Research


Why Study Russian at Temple?

1. Russian is a world language: The Russian Federation has a population of just under 150 million people which constitutes slightly more than 50% of the population of the former Soviet Union. Of those 150 million, slightly more than 120 million identify themselves as ethnic Russians. (There are many more ethnic Russians in other countries of the former Soviet.) Russia spans eleven time zones and covers about 1/8th of the world's land surface. It is the largest country in the world, almost twice the size of the United States. Put simply, Russia is huge.

2. In 2013, Russia was labeled a high-income economy by the World Bank. Russia is one of the world's leading producers of oil and natural gas and is also a top exporter of metals such as steel and primary aluminum. Russia is the largest or one of the largest producers of numerous natural resources and raw materials including petroleum, diamonds, gold, copper, manganese, uranium, silver, graphite, and platinum (for more information: Experts expect an increase in demand for American made equipment related to the energy sector, timber, and food processing equipment, as well as aircraft, air traffic control equipment, among other economic sectors. American companies have been quick to realize the potential of the Russian market; some of these are listed at In July 2014, the Russian government held currency reserves valued at $407,786 million. In January 2013 Russia recorded a trade surplus of 17742 million USD. Russia is a tremendous potential market for US goods and services.

3. Learn about one of the world's most fascinating cultures: Russia is the place that gave birth and room for flights of imagination for some of the world's most prominent writers, artists, musicians, directors of the stage and screen: Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Pasternak, Akhmatova and Brodsky, Repin, Kandinsky, Malevich, Popova, Chagall, Chaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stanislavsky and Tarkovsky ... to name just a few!

4. Russian is not as difficult as you might think: Students spend no more time on homework for a Russian class at Temple than they do for Spanish, about 1.5 hours a day. Students who come to class and do the homework regularly will receive good grades.

5. Personalized instruction: Our language program is well run with a 1:10 teacher to student ratio so all students get lots of attention from their instructors.

6. There are great study abroad options: We encourage students to study abroad and recommend programs through the American Council of Teachers of Russian (, Council on International Educational Exchange (, and the School for Russian & Asian Studies ( See Temple’s Study Abroad Program ( or one of the Russian faculty for more information.

7. Russian combines well with many other disciplines: business and Russian, science and Russian, political science or history and Russian, English and Russian, another foreign language and Russian, engineering and Russian, mathematics and Russian, music and Russian. Russian provides you with opportunities your non-Russian studying classmates don't have.

8 Studying Russian helps you succeed after graduation: Students who study Russian have a higher rate of acceptance for graduate study in law school, business school, medical school, and other professional programs.

9. Students of Russian go on to great careers. Former students of Russian are now working or have worked: as engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center (with Russian cosmonauts training for the Space Shuttle), at banks operating in international markets, as professors of Russian literature at small colleges and large universities, in the peace corps, in major accounting firms (in Russia and in the US), in large and small law firms, in press offices in Russia, Europe and America, in the State Department and Commerce Department of the federal government, in the Peace Corps, in Hollywood, teaching English in Russian high schools, for non-profit agencies such as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the National Foreign Language Center, or the US-Russia Business Council. Some former Russian students have worked for the American Council of Teachers of Russian and the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) both in the US and in Russia.

10. The US Government needs more linguists with Russian language expertise: Commerce Department, FCC, ITC, FBI, CIA, NSA, Energy Department, State Department, among others, are all hiring!

11. The alphabet is cool: It has 33 letters, 10 of which are vowels, and the last letter of the alphabet looks like a backwards R:

Аа Бг Вв Гг Дд Ее Ёё Жж Зз Ии Йй

Кк Лл Мм Нн Оо Пп Рр Сс Тт Уу Фф

Хх Цц Чч Шш Щщ Ъь Ыы Ьь Ээ Юю Яя


Interesting Facts About Russian

  • The U.S. Secretary of Education identifies areas of national need yearly for the International Education Programs authorized by Title VI if the HEA (Higher Education Act of 1965) and administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education. It consulted with the heads of multiple federal agencies in 2012 and has identified “Russian Language” as an “Area of National Need”.
  • Many departments believe that Russian Language is a critical language necessary for the nation.
  • The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Commerce both list Russian as a language that is necessary and vital to our country’s future in the international market. The Department of Commerce reports that it is “in urgent need of proficiency in the language”.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense “strongly supports the national effort to create a cadre of U.S. citizens with advanced, professional-level skills in languages and cultures that are critical to our national security, Russian included”
  • The U.S. Department of Energy lists Russian as the top language “for which expertise would be helpful in advancing the United States’ energy security objectives.
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development emphasizes the need and importance of international exchange programs in Russia in carrying out efforts to share in experiences and expertise in the housing arena. Russian is listed as one of the most critical languages for national needs.
  • The U.S. Department of the Interior lists Russian as a critical language in its efforts to engage in work in the Americas and in the Arctic.



If you want to see more information about “Why Russia Matters,” click here.

If you have questions about Russian at Temple please contact the advisor for the Russian major Olia Prokopenko at




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