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Spring 2015, Isuue I

While the new cohort of students was already on their way to begin their spring semester abroad Russia, Moscow had already prepared a gift for these young explorers, in the form of anomalistic warm weather! This past February was officially recognized as one of the warmest Februarys in the past 50 years of Moscow’s history! CIEE Students have used this in their favor by exploring a vast number of historic sites in Russia’s capital.

10997526_10203384362479817_3086853438878607848_oMurisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16) in front of the St. Basil’s Cathedral

Tracing History’s Footsteps

During the first week of the semester, CIEE students visited the Museum of Contemporary History of Russia. Numerous grand-scale events have occurred in Russia in the past century alone; three revolutions, the Great Patriotic War, the formation and fall of the Soviet superstate, are a few examples. Students viewed different exhibitions containing relics and pictures from this rich history, and learned about the trials and joys Russian people experienced throughout the twentieth century.

10924215_799617553407359_322932505555076253_oMurisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16) and Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16) in the Museum of Contemporary History of Russia

Moscow has boasted the role of capital city to the largest country in the world for more than four hundred years. Moscow’s Kremlin is one particular site has always acted as a capital’s heart. This complex was built as a defense against invaders, but though the centuries became the main political center of the country. Princes, tsars, general secretaries, and presidents of the Russian Federation have worked here on a daily basis for centuries. Nowadays, CIEE students come here to enjoy the beautiful views of the fifteenth century churches that once coronated former tsars, as well as served the place for their wedding and burial ceremonies.

1620679_802093073159807_728542243114265452_nMurisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16) and Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16) next to the Tsar bell 


Murisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16) has visited the Kremlin:

"I visited Kremlin on several occasions, and I was amazed by its grandeur every single time. The awareness of being in the very heart of Moscow always makes me think about Moscow's history and the incredible expansion which resulted in one of the most populated cities in the world. Moreover, I am always very appreciative of the opportunity to tour Russia's administrative center - a center so important for the international politics and world wide economy."

Live and learn

This semester CIEE students are taking direct enrollment courses such as the Theory and History of Diplomacy, Basics of Marketing, General Management and Governance, and Comparative Constitutional Law. All these courses are part of the curriculum of the English bachelor’s program at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. It gives the students a perfect chance to not only explore a different system of education, but also to become acquainted with and exchange ideas with students of many different nationalities, as their classmates are Russians and other young people from different countries.

Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16)is taking three direct enrollment corses:

"We're taking classes on a variety of business and international relations-related topics with students from all over the world. School at MGIMO has been an enriching experience and has definitely helped to prepare me for a career in international relations."

The cornerstone course of the program is the CIEE Core Course “Russia and the United States in Contemporary World Politics”. The content of this course, as well as the experience studying in the heart of the city where decisions regarding Russia’s international affairs are made, help students to comprehend the internal and external factors that have influenced political decision making and behavior at the global and regional levels. Professor of the Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy of Russia, Yuri A. Dubinin, leads this course, helping students to reflect on the influence of relations between Russia and the U.S. on the situation in Eurasia.

One of the highlights of the BIR program in Moscow is the opportunity to receive valuable hands-on insights into Russian business culture through the CIEE for-credit intenship. This semester, CIEE students joined the Russian Council on International Affairs. Students complete a variety of tasks under the guidance of experienced professionals, which has given them an invaluable experience in the Russian workforce, and additionally, a perceptive understanding of how formal and informal communications are differ in the United States and Russia.

Murisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16) is an intern in the Russian Council on International Affairs:

"Being able to intern at the Russian International Affairs Council is one of my favorite parts of the Moscow experience. I feel that my work is appreciated and that I am truly contributing to a local think tank."


Trip to Vladimir and Suzdal

It is impossible to explore Russia’s history without delving into the medieval era. With that in mind, CIEE students embarked on a day-trip to the cities of Vladimir and Suzdal, located in Moscow’s outskirts. These towns are included in the list of cities that comprise the Golden ring of Russia – a list of ancient towns and cities dating back to as early as the 12th century, that have preserved their rich arcitecture, and unique historic and cultural relics. In Vladimir, students had the opportunity to see the magnificent Dormition Cathedral, a venerated model for cathedrals all over Medieval Russia, as well as St. Demetrius' Cathedral, whose carved wooden exterior represents the Biblical story of King David. Visiting Suzdal, allowed students the unforgettable experience of walking through an ancient city that to this day houses nearly sixty churches built between the twelfth and nineteenth century. One of the highlights of the day, was our visit to the museum of wooden architecture. Students were impressed by the representations of seventeenth and eighteenth century wooden constructions completed without the use of any nails!

Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16) has traveled to Vladimir and Suzdal:

"Our trip to Vladimir & Suzdal was a really great cultural experience. It introduced us to small-town Russian life, as well as religious and cultural history."

1780201_809325295769918_104970736808883152_oMurisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16) and Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16) next to the Dormition Cathedral

11034367_809325289103252_3578533324382204423_oMurisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16) and Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16) next to the eighteenth century, St. Demetrius’s Cathedral

Russian art and more!

Moscow is a favorable place for lovers of art. CIEE students visited Tretyakov gallery to enjoy paintings created by the hands of Russian masters of many different epochs and styles. Students relished the fifteenth century icons by A. Rublev, landscapes by I. Sishkin, fairytale scenes by V. Vasnetsov and symbolistic paintings by M. Vrubel. The next destination for the students was The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Students viewed paintings and art pieces spanning a vast period. The collection includes, but is by far not limited to artwork from Ancient Egypt and Troy, sculptures by Michelangelo and paintings by Rembrandt. Both museums gave the students an opportunity to enjoy world-renowned masterpieces of both Russian and Western art.

Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16):

"The Pushkin Museum has an incredible collection from many different historical time periods throughout the world, all of which I really enjoyed seeing."

11075760_10153300939092214_415073331_nPasha Sergeev, Student Services Coordinator and Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16) next to The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts


Russian ballet is, in short, extraordinary, and not to be missed. This spring, CIEE students put the Russian ballet to the test, by visiting a Russian ballet performance in the Kremlin Palace. The classic love story of Romeo and Juliet, familiar to all, was brought to life by the dancers of the Kremlin Palace. These dancers expressed the sorrow of this tragic love story so poignantly, it was impossible to not be moved by their outstanding performance.

Murisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16 ) shares her expirience:

"Not only did we get to see amazing Russian artists perform a beautiful ballet - we got to see it at the Kremlin Theater! What I will remember about Romeo and Juliet is impeccable dancing, overwhelmingly large and overwhelmingly beautifult heater hall, and taking full body selfies in humongous mirrors which decorate the Kremlin Theater."

Balet_romeo_i_dguletta_9.cScene from ballet “Romeo and Juliet”

Game night with Russian students

CIEE Game Night has three simple rules – play board games, meet new Russian friends, and have fun! Students don’t seem opposed to these rules in the least bit, and they enjoyed the opportunity to meet Russian students from MGIMO while drinking coffee and playing Civilization in the quiet anticafe CheckPoint in the heart of Moscow’s downtown.

Murisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16):

I was so happy that local students were interested in meeting us, and so surprised that so many of them decided to spend their evening with us. I made eight new friends, played a Russian board game, and got to experience the easygoing ambiance in one of locally popular anti-cafes. All that accompanies by good coffee and fresh cookies - a perfectly enjoyable experience.

10407314_10153306495587214_1681331249126735717_nMurisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16) and Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16) and Pasha Sergeev, Students Services Coordinator



S Nauluchshimi pozhelaniyami (Best wishes),

Pasha Sergeev,  Student Services Coordinator

Irina Makoveeva, Center Director



With the first semester of the CIEE Moscow International Relations and Business program coming to a close, CIEE is proud of its first set of students, who have had a successful academic semester, garnered valuable professional experience through the CIEE Internship Program, and have immersed themselves in Russian life and culture. As the semester draws to an end, with the bitter sweet excitement of the holiday season and returning home, it is hard for students to say goodbye to Russia’s capital city which has been there home the past 4 months.

 Exploring Russia’s History: Guest Lectures, Museum visits, & Cinema Club

 The history of Russia is a complex and deep-rooted past, which attracts the attention of many young zealous minds, especially those of our inquisitive students. Students were excited at the opportunity to attend two guest lectures conducted by Maria Pavlova, an expert of the MGIMO Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy of Russia. The lectures, entitled “17 Moments of Russian History before the Revolution” and “We Were Born to Make a Dream Come True: the Soviet Period” gave students thought-provoking insight into the highlights of Russia’s timeline.

 Ian Rohr (Tulane University ‘17), one of the mainstays of the guest lectures reflects:

“Many MGIMO professors have said that in order to understand Russian foreign policy, you have to understand Russian history. During the semester a guest lecturer spoke to us twice about Russian history. What made these lectures particularly important was that I learned about this history from the Russian perspective. Knowing this perspective has made it easier to understand the reasons why Russian leaders enact their current foreign policy.” IMG_20141215_004444

Moments before the first lecture, “17 Moments of Russian History Before the Revolution” began.

Together with CIEE staff, students visited the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, learning about many of the heroic feats of the Soviet people. Students walked through the museum halls learning about the key battles of the Russian-German front. The CIEE cohort saw pictures and items exposing in depth, the tragedy of that sorrowful period of Russia’s history. Sorrow Hall is especially powerful, and left a lasting-impression on the students: 2,660,000 small metal chains hang from the ceiling of Sorrow Hall, each chain symbolizing 10 Soviet citizens who did not survive the war. Another powerful hall of the Museum of the Great Patriotic War is Glory Hall. More than twelve thousand names of Heroes of the Soviet Union are engraved on its walls.

 Emily Bond (University of California, Santa Barbara ’15) has visited the museum:

 “I loved the Great Patriotic War Museum! It's perhaps one of the most beautiful museums I have ever been to, and I learned a lot from our tour guide.”   Безымянный

[Left to Right] Emily Bond (University of California, Santa Barbara ’15), Trey Reilly (Colorado State University ’15), Thomas Cullen (Seton Hall University ’16) and Ian Rohr (Tulane University ‘17) in Sorrow Hall (Left) and Glory Hall (Right)

One of the greatest mediums through which to expand your comprehension of foreign culture is film. It gives a deeper insight into the culture during certain periods of time. Most recently, the CIEE Cinema Club viewed the cult movie of the 1990s, Brat (Brother, 1997). The 90s were turbulent times in Russia’s history, and this movie gave particularly poignant insight into what was happening during this decade. After the film screening, students and staff discussed the film’s significance, leading to a thought-provoking discussion on its perspective of reality.

 Emily Bond (University of California, Santa Barbara ’15):

 “For Cinema Club we watched a fantastic movie called “Brat.” It was an insightful look into the tumultuous times of Russia in the 90s, and tied in well with our current studies.” 10714244_758128437556271_9106572381986488907_o

CIEE students and a Russian student during the CIEE Cinema Club’s showing of Brat.

Student Internships in Moscow

 Students enjoyed the opportunity to accrue valuable professional experience through CIEE’s Internship Program. This semester, all interested students attained internships, successfully interning in leading organizations and businesses such as Kommersant, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, the Russian Council on International Affairs, and the World Trade Center. Student responsibilities ranged from conducting analysis in the International Media & Communications Department to editing English publications and conducting scientific analysis of current affairs and events in the Arctic Division of the Russian Council on Internal Affairs. The hands on experience CIEE students received by learning to work in a completely different work-environment helped them to comprehend how business culture varies in the US and in Russia.

 Emily Bond (University of California, Santa Barbara ’15), double pyschology and Slavic language & literature major, with a minor in history,interned with the Russian Council on Internal Affairs. She reflected: 

“The internship portion of this program was an insightful look into the business culture in Russia. No matter what I pursue after graduation, I know this experience will benefit me in all my future endeavors.”

 Interning in a Russian company, challenged students linguistically, helping to improve their Russian language skills. Additionally, students acquired a vast amount of professional and communicational skills which will help them in their future professional development.

 Visit to the American Embassy

 The CIEE Business and International Relations program in Moscow gives students invaluable knowledge on international relations, thus, a visit to the American Embassy was priceless experience for our students. They had a chance to meet Embassy officers and ask about their personal experience in the diplomacy career. It was a great way to acquire professional insight and guidance, which will help students in choosing and pursuing their career paths. 

Kevin Dibb (University of California, Santa Barbara ‘15):

 “Most of us enrolled in CIEE's International Relations and Business program in Moscow have an interest in pursuing a career in diplomacy, public service, or international business. Whilst in Moscow we had the chance to meet real professionals in these fields through a visit to the city's US Embassy, where we enjoyed a wonderful roundtable discussion with three State Department employees about the pros and cons of a career as Foreign Service Officers - several of whom began their careers in international banking or volunteering abroad. It was a wonderful way to complement our studies, and a great experience.” 10872457_10153478542931632_626668389_n

CIEE students with Center Director, Irina Makoveeva

Exploring the Russia beyond Moscow

 CIEE Travel to Kazan, the Republic of Tatarstan

 Russia is well known for not only its tremendous territory, but also for its diverse, multicultural population. As the world’s largest country in terms of territory, this vast land is home to more than 180 ethnic groups. At the end of October, CIEE visited one truly special place in Russia– the heart of the Tatar Republic, Kazan.

 Kazan is a diverse city with a high concentration of different cultures, ethnicities (primarily Tatar and Russian), and religions, and is famous for Muslims and Christians living side-by-side in peace. Together with students from the CIEE St. Petersburg Study Center, Moscow students visited many of Kazan’s splendid sights, such as the Qolşärif Mosque located within the Kremlin walls, the Temple of All Religions, and the Raif Holy Virgin Monastery. Visiting a traditional Muslim mosque in Russia, was a unique experience, students appreciated.

 Ian Rohr (Tulane University ‘17) shares his experience:

 “Kazan, also known as the city where Europe meets Asia, was one of my favorite cities that I visited in Russia due to its long, unique history. It is interesting to see how two great ethnicities—the Russians and the Tatars—have lived in peace and harmony for many centuries. One of the main attractions in Kazan is its Kremlin. Walking through this historic place, I felt like I was in touch with what had happened here.” IMG_0875

Thomas Cullen (Seton Hall University ‘15) in front of Raif Holy Virgin Monastery in the outskirts of Kazan.


[L to R] Emily Bond (‘15) and Kevin Dibb (‘15) with CIEE St. Petersburg students from the University of California, Alexandra Martin (’15), Nick Kristensen (‘16), and Symeon Tsvetkov (’14). 

Individual Student Travels: Tula, Volgograd, the Trans-Siberian Railroad

 During the Russian national holiday, National Unity Day, which commemorates Moscow’s 1612 victory over Polish occupation forces students took the opportunity to travel throughout Russia.


 One of our students, Ian Rohr (Tulane University ’17), traveled 120 miles south of Moscow, to a small town on the Golden Ring, Tula. Tula, not only the birthplace and burial place of prolific Russian author, Leo Tolstoy, is also famous for its delicious gingerbread cookies made with honey & spices, called pryaniki, and for its production of samovars.


Ian Rohr (Tulane University ‘17) with his Russian friends on the Lenin square in Tula


 Not many people recognize Volgograd by its modern name, as this place remains memorable under its Soviet name – Stalingrad. This “Hero City” was almost completely destroyed during World War II during the infamous Battle of Stalingrad, yet the Soviet people bravely fought and defended their city, never surrendering. Students who chose to visit Volgograd, found a multitude of memorials and monuments in honor of the people who showed such great courage and bravery protecting their homeland from invaders. The most impressive statue in Volgograd is The Motherland Calls; standing 170 feet tall, it is the tallest statue of a woman in the world.

 Trey Reilly (Colorado State University ’15) traveled to Volgograd and visited a Russian family of his friend:

 “Having the opportunity to spend several days in Volgograd provided me with the unique opportunity to better realize the extent of the tragedy and bravery of the Battle of Stalingrad. Having dinners and spending time talking about politics and culture with a traditional Russian family — who lived through the Soviet Union and didn’t speak any English — was also one of the most interesting parts of my entire time living in Russia.”


Rodina mat 3
Trey Reilly (Colorado State University ‘15) and Thomas Cullen (Seton Hall University ’16) with their Russian friend, Polina, on the sqaure “Stand to Death!” 

T-34 in volgograd

Trey Reilly (Colorado State University ‘15) and Thomas Cullen (Seton Hall University ’16) with their Russian friend next to the tank T-34.

 The Trans-Siberian Railway

There is something rather enticing about traveling overnight by train, especially if it is via the longest railroad line in the world. The Trans-Siberian Railway connects the vast expanse of Russia with its steady and consistent infrastructure. In 6 days, you can cover over 5,500 miles traveling from Moscow to Vladivostok. Two adventurous CIEE students embarked on this 6 day journey, stopping in Irkutsk, visiting the deepest and one of the clearest lakes in the world – Lake Baikal.  IMG_0401

Emily Bond (University of California, Santa Barbara ‘15)and Kevin Dibb (University of California, Santa Barbara ‘15) in front of the Golden Bridge in Vladivostok

 Kevin Dibb (University of California, Santa Barbara ‘15) traveled across Russia:

 “Riding the fabled Trans-Siberian Railroad has always been a childhood dream of mine, the result of an early obsession with trains and long trips. When I finally learned I would be participating in CIEE's inaugural Moscow program the trip was thus at the top of my list of things to do while living in Russia. It was everything I hoped it would be, and I am so happy to now be able to cross it off my bucket-list."

 Watch a video about that trip! 


 Happy Thanksgiving!

 Four months living abroad, far away from friends and family can be difficult, especially during the holidays when it is even easier to miss home. But creating a small piece of home in Russia can truly help! Even though students celebrated Thanksgiving in Russia this year, we were able to create a cozy, homey Thanksgiving. Students conquered the task of preparing the Thanksgiving meal classics by cooking together, and then together, enjoyed the delightful Thanksgiving feast they had prepared.

 Thomas Cullen (Seton Hall University ‘15):

 "Thanksgiving at Pasha's apartment was definitely needed, because it offered us the time to reconnect as the trip approached a close. We were all getting busier and busier throughout November, therefore it was nice to catch up on our lives over thanksgiving food."  1899838_760878480614600_3755003548217614586_oThomas Cullen (Seton Hall University ‘15) cooking cranberry sauce


CIEE students and Student Services Coordinator, Pasha Sergeev

MGIMO Choir Performance

 On the 6th of December, CIEE students, Thomas Cullen and Ian Rohr performed with the MGIMO choir in one of the most beautiful neo-classical buildings in Moscow, the Tsereteli Gallery, singing the cantata “Alexander Nevsky”.

 Thomas Cullen (Seton Hall University ’16) is one of the students who took part in the event:

 "The choir performance was so special for 2 reasons: the first was that we were singing a song called Alexander Nevskiy (who was a very important person in Russian history), the second reason is that it was a culmination of my efforts in all the practices throughout the semester." 10846852_10204803228274050_1244763416_n

Thomas Cullen (Seton Hall University ’16) and Ian Rohr (Tulane University of Louisiana ’17) with Russian well known conductor, Boris Tarakanov

 The semester’s final days are coming!

 With the last days of the semester flying by, CIEE students are writing their final papers and projects devoted to relations between Russia and the U.S., international conflicts, the political situation in Russia, and many other topics they have investigated during this semester abroad. Russia is a very pivotal player in the international field, especially these days. Given these pendulous times, to be located within Russia and experience and analyze the current events that are writing history, students are receiving invaluable knowledge, perspective, and insight.

 Soon, students will say goodbye to the people who have become close to them these past four months, and return home, knowing their experience studying in Russia has changed them and their lives.


From all of us at CIEE, we wish you a happy holiday season, and hope the New Year brings you a year full of happiness and health, new experiences, and adventure!


 Vsego khoroshego (All the Best), 

Pasha Sergeev, Student Services Coordinator

 Irina Makoveeva, Center Director




47 years has passed since CIEE launched its first study center in Saint Petersburg. Time moves forward and we have all been excited to announce the groundbreaking news of the opening of CIEE’s second study center in Russia, right in the heart of Russia’s capital city, Moscow!


From left to right:Emily Bond (University of California, Santa Barbara ’15), Thomas Cullen (Seton Hall University ’16), Kevin Dibb (University of California, Santa Barbara ‘15) and Trey Reilly (Colorado State University ‘15)in front of the Kremlin walls. 

 The first cohort of students came at the end of August, aiming to take advantage of the Business and International Relations Program. Without wasting any time, students began exploring as many gripping places in Russia’s capital as they could. Red Square, Cosmonauts Alley, Bolotnaya Square, the All-Russia Exhibition Centre, Arbat street, are just a few of the enormous list of historic places our students visited within the first couple weeks of the semester. 


Emily Bond (University of California, Santa Barbara ‘15)and Kevin Dibb (University of California, Santa Barbara ‘15) during a Moskva river boat trip. 


Where can you learn more about Russian foreign policy and politics if not at Russia’s most prestigious foreign affairs university? Studying in the Moscow State Institute of International Relations provides students with the incomparable opportunity of learning from Russian experts.

One of the anchor courses of the program is CIEE Core Course “Russia and the United States in Contemporary World Politics”. Led by the head of the Department of Applied Analysis of International Problems, Professor Shakleina, students learn what place Russia and the United States occupy in contemporary world politics, how they view each other, what their incentives for the future are, and what impact their relations and their policies will have for the world. Just glimpsing at the news today, it is very clear how important a course like this is. 

Trey Reilly (Colorado State University ‘15:

“In order to better understand the actions taken by sovereign nations — and most importantly the reasons behind these actions — scholars must gain a greater global perspective. Studying at Moscow State Institute of International Relations has given me the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge, from Russian professors, about the Russian perspective on world events, crises, and international security. The lectures and seminars taught by these experts have had a wide variety of topics, ranging from 8th century Russian history to international security in the 21st century, which I feel have all substantially promoted my intellectual growth.”

In addition to the mandatory World Politics course, students have a broad range of electives to choose from that are taught in English, ranging from Conflictology to Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Politics, and Business.

This semester, almost all our students are taking the course, “Political Process in Contemporary Russia.” Living in Russia, during times of change, students examine the main trends of Russia’s political process, its major actors as well as possible scenarios of its development, taking into account how it all is presented in latest Russian and foreign publication.

Ian Rohr (Tulane University of Louisiana ‘17) is one of the students in this course:

“Our Political Processes in Contemporary Russia class is very exciting. Yan Vaslavskiy, our professor, gives informative lectures and is very interested to listen to our opinions about our readings. Since our class is small, we are able to easily develop a rapport with Professor Vaslavskiy. During our seminars he gives us each individual feedback about our response papers in order for us to fully understand Russian politics.”

This semester, we are proud of one of our brave students who directly enrolled in a Russian course at MGIMO. Not only does it demand an advanced level of Russian, as you are studying alongside Russian students, but it also provides the additonal challenge of learning in a completely new system of education.  Needless to say, the rewards are immeasurable: studying directly in such a course strengthens your Russian language skills, and provides you the unique experience of truly experiencing Russian student life, and experiencing how the systems of education differ, as well as how professor-student relationships differ in these two countries.

Kenan Seyidov (University of Pennsylvania ’16) is the above mentioned brave student:

“Taking classes in Russian at MGIMO is a truly rewarding experience! I am grateful that CIEE provided me with this opportunity as it enabled me to familiarize myself with the Russian education system at an elite university, which is quite different to western methods of teaching. At first it is difficult to follow but soon it becomes obvious that the professors are very passionate about their subject; they convey their emotions through numerous anecdotes and by sharing their memories during lectures and seminars. I doubt that the same dynamic would persist if I wasn't taught about Russia in Russia.”

MGIMO gives students opportunity to learn not only in class but also during informative guest lectures. Generally, guests are famous and respected professors and professionals who like to share their experience with zealous. On the third week of September, students had a chance to listen to a series lectures conducted by University of Cambridge and University of California Santa Barbara professor and former head of Arctic Ocean Geopolitics Programme, Paul Arthur Berkman. During the lectures Professor Berkman covered the topic of modern conceptual interpretations of the status of political and legal regulation of international spaces: the Arctic, the Antarctic, the ocean.

Kevin Dibb (University of California, Santa Barbara ‘15) attended the lectures:

A professor from my home university, UCSB, came to MGIMO to give a week long lecture series on the legal status of the Arctic. It was extremely informative, and his academic presence really spoke to the legitimacy and prestige of MGIMO.”


Emily Bond (University of California, Santa Barbara ‘15)and Kevin Dibb (University of California, Santa Barbara ’15) with professor Paul Arthur Berkman


Moscow has had an incredibly interesting and colorful past which is reflected in its unique culture and architecture. CIEE students spent one of their first weekends in Moscow getting acquainted with the Kremlin Complex. Located in the center of Moscow, it includes the Armoury Chamber, a treasure-house hosting ancient Russian state regalia, ceremonial vestments, church utensils; Assumption Cathedral, the cathedral, where the inaugurations of Princes, Tsars, Emperors were held for centuries; Archangel's Cathedral, the dynastic necropolis of Moscow Great Princes and Tsars; Annunciation Cathedral, the church intended for royal ceremonies and keeping the royal treasury. The Kremlin’s importance is just as significant as it has been in the past. Today, it plays a significant role in the political life of Russia. Both the president and presidential administration are functioning in the administrative part of the complex.

Thomas Cullen (Seton Hall University ‘15) shares his insights on the experience:

“The Kremlin is absolutely beautiful, but my favorite part is the Armory museum because they have the entire history of Russia on display in one place”


Trey Reilly (Colorado State University ‘15) next to one of the guardians of Kremlin


BIR students and Student Services Coordinator, Pasha Sergeev, next to the Tsar Bell (weight of the bell is 445,166 lb)


A true admirer of Russian art cannot skip a visit to Tretyakov gallery, the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world. CIEE students sensed the unique ambiance of the place as its collection includes masterpieces, which span a period of almost a thousand years. Hall by hall students observed a whole history of Russian fine arts, including ancient icons of Rublev, portraits of Kiprenskiy, creations of rebellious Peredvizhniki (The Wanderers), symbolistic paintings by Vrubel, and works of famous social realists.

Emily Bond (University of California, Santa Barbara ‘15):

“Of the many excursions I went on with CIEE, the Tretiakov Gallery is among my favorites. Our tour guide was excellent and effectively conveyed the historical context in which each painting was created, allowing us to fully understand the gravity each piece of art held.”


Rich history of Russia attracts attention of many young explorers. The more our students discover about Russian history, the more they are gaining a deeper understanding of how the historic experience shaped modern Russia. The State Museum of Contemporary History of Russia offered CIEE students an opportunity to comprehend the present Russia by examining various historical sources and documentary records. Students tracked how these pieces reflect social, political and economic history of our country and followed the intellectual development of the society for the whole 150 years' period of its progress.


On the second weekend of the semester, Saint Petersburg hosted the CIEE Muscovites and opened its breathtaking views, presenting a slightly more relaxed and smooth rhythm of life compared to the hustle and bustle of Moscow. To reach the “cultural capital of Russia” students boarded an overnight train, a true Russian experience. During the students’ three days in the Northern Capital, students endeavored to take in as many sights as possible; visiting The State Hermitage Museum, which garners more than 3 million works of art, spanning countless epochs and periods; meandering among the richly decorated fountains of Peterhof; and watching the drawbridges of Petersburg, decorating the Neva, rise at night. 

Ian Rohr (Tulane University of Louisiana ‘17):

“St. Petersburg is both beautiful and well-cultured. You can find shops and restuarants of all kinds along the Nevksy Prospekt. What I enjoyed most about my trip to St. Petersburg was touring the Hermitage Museum. I saw a massive collection of art from around the world from renowned artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent van Gogh. I would definitely recommend to anyone visiting Russia—student or tourist—to see St. Petersburg at least once.”


 CIEE students exploring the famous sights of Petersburg


However strong the academic program is, simply learning in class would not suffice for a future international business executive. The majority of CIEE students also decided to use an opportunity of participating in CIEE internship program that boosts their business and leadership skills, helps students gain project management experience and deeper understanding of intercultural business relations. Companies providing internships are well-known leaders in their professional spheres.

Some of the companies that welcome our CIEE students this semester include Kommersant (national daily business newspaper), Agency of Strategic Initiatives, World Trade Center and Russian Council for

International Affairs. Students’ tasks vary from monitoring world press on specific topics to analyzing competitive market of a particular country.

Kevin Dibb (University of California, Santa Barbara ‘15) is one of the students who chose internship option:

“Working at Kommersant, one of Russia's largest newspapers, has been a wonderful experience that had provided me with keen insight into Russian journalism and workplace culture, as well as providing me with the opportunity to develop my professional skills and practice Russian language.”


Even those who are not well acquainted with the ballet world recognize the name of one of the most renowned works of Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake. Students attended this very ballet at the State Kremlin Palace, one of the main stages of Russia. The Kremlin Palace is in the heart of Russia, within the territory of a medieval fortress, and the residence of the head of the state. Students were captivated by the talented ballet dancers, who successfully expressed the tragedy of Princess Odette, the princess that was turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. This deeply emotional and well known story, resonated with the audience and CIEE students.

Emily Bond (University of California, Santa Barbara ‘15)  shares her feelings about the ballet experience:

“Having done ballet my whole life, it was a dream of mine to see an authentic Russian ballet performance. I had the wonderful opportunity to see "Лебединое Озеро" and it was truly a magical evening.”

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CIEE students in the hall of The State Kremlin Palace


This semester, two of our musically inclined CIEE students took advantage of the local student community by joining the academic choir of Moscow State Institute of International Relations. At the moment, students are rehearsing with the choir of the Russian State Humanitarian University, accompanied by a symphony orchestra to prepare for a big show where all students will perform cantata “Alexander Nevsky.” Not too shabby at all. We’re all looking forward to watching their performance.

Thomas Cullen (Seton Hall University ‘16)  is one of the participants of MGIMO Choir:

“Choir is a great opportunity to interact with "right-brained" Russians, I am not very good at Russian but I realized that I am picking up a lot of the language just by participating in an activity I am familiar with.”


Cup of tea, cookies, talks with new friends and some board games – what can be better at the end of the day? CIEE students and their Russian friends had a nice time playing UNO and Mafia, among other games at TimeTerria, an anticafe in the center of the city. Students found that night great for making new friends and practicing Russian.

Trey Reilly (Colorado State University ‘15):

“Learning how to play Mafia — with Russian students from MGIMO — was a unique experience that immersed me deeper into the Russian culture and provided an opportunity to build friendship. It was a night full of laughter that I will not forget.”


CIEE students and their Russian peers at the CIEE Board Game Night


S Nauluchshimi pozhelaniyami (Best wishes),


Pasha Sergeev, Student Services Coordinator

Irina Makoveeva, Center Director