While the program went virtual this year, I was very pleased with it. My faculty in speaking Russian improved dramatically in a way that I did not think would be possible online. While the pace was challenging, it was never overwhelming and this proved to be equally effective. The personal attention of the Derzhavin staff and small class size (just two of us) made this possible. One component of the course involved weekly conversations with a Russian college student who knew no English. These conversations with my partner Danila made me feel connected to the country from afar and proved to be humbling: speaking with teachers in the classroom is very different from native conversation. I highly recommend the program for anyone who wants to get ahead in their Russian courses and really devote the requisite time to language study that is difficult to do while balancing a full course load. Having completed this course, I feel that I will be better able to experience Russia whenever I can finally visit.
Konstantin Howard (2021)
Overall I found this to be an extremely well run and helpful program! My ability to speak, read, and understand Russian has increased significantly since the start of this program. I found the excursions to be insightful and enjoyable, they helped me to visualize the culture and place I was learning about. This program has opened doors to more classes for me to take at Princeton. It has helped me greatly.
William Soltesz (2021)
I think the best part of the program is that it gives you communication tools you can't develop in a language classroom. Through the literature study and cultural program I gained the context and common ground necessary to communicate effectively with Russians, not just repeat phrases in the language. Through the social program and homestay, I got the experience in solving problems and having serious conversations in Russian, cementing my understanding of the most crucial skills needed to exchange ideas with people. I may speak Russian somewhat terribly still, but I can get around well and I have the foundation for a much deeper understanding of the language."
Greg Wall (PiP 2018)
PiP was honestly one of my best experiences with Princeton - it’s the kind of summer that one will remember years after graduation. I lived with a host family with my best friend - whom I met through RUS101 - and we each had a nice, spacious bedroom. We had so much fun hanging out around the city after class (reach out to me if you want a list of restaurant recommendations!), meeting locals, and making funny short videos in Russian together because why not. I loved the classes - Professor Pettus who would bring us Russian food every class and show us how to peel fish, Professor Blank who guides to dive into the fascinating world of Crime and Punishment, and professors from the Derzhavin institute who are all super kind and dedicated in helping us learn. The Russian friend I met through the program was also amazing - we went to a lot of cool places together even outside of the program allotted time, and talked about all kinds of things from politics to literature to boys. I went to VK fest, Geek Picnic (where I tried to play VR Escape the Room in Russian with a group of strangers - failed miserably but it was fun), Alye Parusa (the largest yearly music festival in Europe, goes from the evening till early morning - simply incredible, especially with summer white night), talked to strangers, improved my Russian tremendously, and really felt that I got to know this city like a local. I’ve never even thought of Russian before coming to Princeton and now I’m a Slavic major. PiP is really a life-changing experience you don’t want to miss!"
Jianing Zhao (PiP 2017)
Princeton in Petersburg combines the efficient study of Russian language with an incredibly immersive experience of Russian culture. St. Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia, and PiP is tailored to introduce students to the city's rich and complex history and tradition. There is something charming and mysterious about the landmarks of St. Petersburg and its surrounding. The subtle atmosphere of the city captivates every Princeton student from the first day. Learning in and outside of class is very active and collaborative. It is especially rewarding to apply the fresh knowledge from class to the conversations one has on the street or with the host family. Students often find that their knowledge of Russian language improves significantly over a short period of time. Thus, PiP is the meaningful next step for anyone determined to learn Russian. My dearest memory from PiP involves walking the scenes from Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment: from the madhouse market place at today's metro station Sennaya Ploshchad to the pawn-broker's apartment. PiP is ideal for the admirers of Russian literature!
Aleksandar Vladicic (PiP 2016)