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Anyone have a dc due to do a year abroad in Russia next year?
25

SayThatYouLoveMe · 12/04/2022 12:07

DD1 is doing joint honours German and Russian and was due to spend 2 terms in Russia next academic year and the final term in Germany. Obviously travel to Russia is highly unlikely currently and she's very worried that her uni will shift to online teaching for the first half of the year, which might make her think of dropping out altogether. Having got this far, she also doesn't want to switch to single honours German. Anyone else in a similar position, and does your dc's uni have any indication of what alternative plans might be put in place? DD has mentioned studying in another Russian-speaking county such as Estonia or Latvia, but her uni haven't said this is an option they're considering yet.

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Sunshine4Ever2 · 13/04/2022 04:22

I feel very sorry for your DD. But I'd seriously discourage any course that considered Estonia or Latvia as "Russian-speaking" as they're most certainly not, except for the people that Stalin resettled there to assert dominance. And I definitely wouldn't want a child of mine studying Russian to go there. They wouldn't feel welcome, for sure - only a small step up from sending them to Ukraine.
I'll be very surprised if your DD's uni offers these as options.

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SayThatYouLoveMe · 13/04/2022 12:02

Thank you @Sunshine4Ever2. Those are good points. I think she may be clutching at straws with her thoughts on Estonia or Latvia, hoping not to have to spend another year doing online learning from her bedroom. Her uni haven't mentioned this as an option at all, but they also haven't yet given any indication of what the alternative might be.

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Snoopsnoggysnog · 13/04/2022 12:05

Can she change to another joint honours like German and English, German and politics etc?

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AnotherNC22 · 13/04/2022 12:16

This is such a shame for your DD. I studied Russian over 15yrs ago now and spent a fantastic year in Moscow. I really feel for everyone this year who wont be able to do their year abroads, especially after having the pandemic years as well.

In the first instance, can she switch the split between German and Russian so that she does 2 terms in Germany, which leaves 1 term in Russia to deal with? Especially if she does this as her final term, it buys some time to see how things pan out over the next few months. Or even do her full year aborad in Germany? She won't get the full Russian experience but presumably all the students reading Russian this year will be in the same boat and it will be taken into consideration in the marking / assessing.

I agree with the pp above, she really wont get a Russian language experience in Estonia or Latvia. There are lots of other former Soviet countries where some of the population speak Russian but the geopolitics are such that even if she could study Russian at a university there, she won't get the same experience in terms of using it in every day life. I suspect the uni hasn't said anything because they just don't know yet.

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Siepie · 13/04/2022 12:19

I work in a university languages department. Since covid, we've had to become a lot more flexible with year abroad requirements. Quite a lot of joint honours students spent the whole year in one country when they'd normally be expected to split it. Others did online study, went to summer schools rather than universities, went to language schools in alternative countries (one student even arranged to go on an intensive German course in an Asian country when he couldn't get into Germany).

I definitely don't think that your DD will be made, or even encouraged, to switch to single honours if that's not what she wants. The university won't just decide that everyone has to drop Russian half way through their degree. After covid disrupting year abroad the last few years, we've got used to finding creative solutions and supporting final year students who haven't spent third year abroad.

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BlackLambAndGreyFalcon · 13/04/2022 12:20

Our students will be going to Daugavpils in Latvia which is over 50% Russian-speaking. No, it's not the same as going to Russia, bit it's better than not going at all.

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MidLifeCrisis007 · 13/04/2022 13:06

@BlackLambAndGreyFalcon

Our students will be going to Daugavpils in Latvia which is over 50% Russian-speaking. No, it's not the same as going to Russia, bit it's better than not going at all.

Is Kaliningrad an option (and safe). My DS is due to go to Russia in September 2023.
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BlackLambAndGreyFalcon · 13/04/2022 19:51

Kaliningrad is an integral part of Russian territory, so from a security point of view there is absolutely no difference between going to Kaliningrad or going to Moscow or Petersburg - it's all the same country. The FCO advise travel against all parts of Russia which will include Kaliningrad. I'm afraid that no UK institution will send their students to Russia whilst this advice is in place. Apart from their responsibility to provide duty of care to their students, the institutional travel insurance will not be valid whilst this advice is in place.

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yellowsuninthesky · 13/04/2022 21:25

I was thinking about this the other day - it's so sad for students of Russian.

As a pp said, it would seem sensible to go to Germany for the first two terms and then see if things calm down and allow her to go there for her final term. And while studying in the Baltic states isn't the same at all, there are a lot of Russian speakers and it would probably be easy enough to find them. Plus the fact there are lot of Russian refugees as well as Ukranian ones - and Russian speaking refugees from Ukraine.

Kaliningrad was always a special security zone in Soviet times and I don't know if it's particularly West-friendly even now.

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SayThatYouLoveMe · 14/04/2022 12:55

Thanks everyone - it's a frustrating situation, but in the scheme of things not the worst thing that could happen. There are definitely ways to make the best of it. She loves German and would probably be really glad to spend more time there next year. She wouldn't be able to switch to joint honours with another subject at this stage as she'd have missed too much of the second subject to catch up, but everyone in her position at the moment is likely to end up majoring more in their other language with Russian being 'with' than truly joint. I assume that numbers of students applying to do Russian for the next year or two are likely to drop dramatically too, which will have a huge impact on MFL departments in the UK which offer it.

I guess the problem with spending time in any Russian-speaking country is that they are all geographically close to Russia and therefore potentially unstable. @BlackLambAndGreyFalcon - very interesting that your uni have made the decision to send students to Latvia, and I wonder if other unis might do similar. Her uni has sent emails to say they know it is a difficult time for their Russian students, but haven't said anything at all about what they're planning for. There isn't a huge amount of time now to set up alternative options, apply for visas, look for accommodation etc.

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indigoemerald · 14/04/2022 18:06

I do know that several universities are looking at short term language schools in the Baltics for next year, to provide some sort of overseas Russian language experience, but I’m not sure how feasible it would be to get all the contractual arrangements in place ready for September (It can usually take years to go through the relevant due diligence/quality assurance processes, even for the most “straightforward” countries).

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ClaudiaWankleman · 14/04/2022 18:15

It wouldn't be glamorous in the slightest, but I believe that Moldova has a high percentage of Russian speakers - something like 50% because it's got a status as a language of communication between ethnicities.

Even if DD doesn't do the year in Russia and does a full year in Germany, she'd still be able to continue on into her final year studying it. I did a 2 language degree where I only spent time in one of the countries - it wasn't an issue.

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RampantIvy · 14/04/2022 18:44

One of DD's friends has the same problem with China as she is studying Chinese and French. She can't go to China now so I'm not sure what he is going to do.

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BlackLambAndGreyFalcon · 15/04/2022 08:02

We're fortunate that we already had the exchange programme with Daugavpils set up, so we didnt have to faff around trying to set up a new agreement from scratch. I also personally wouldn't class Latvia (as both an EU and NATO member) as "potentially unstable" despite it's geographical location. I'm actually planning to go there myself for my summer holiday in August!

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TheDrsDocMartens · 17/04/2022 18:31

Is there the option of studying Russian in Germany? Then at least it’s not a year without any Russian.

My eldest missed year abroad due to covid but was due to study language A in country B and vice versa.

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Fifthtimelucky · 17/04/2022 23:27

A friend's daughter is in this position. She was due to go to St Petersburg this September for a year, but has been told it is not happening.

I know that they are considering options like Latvia and Estonia but nothing is yet settled.

Another friend's daughter is studying history with Russian and had been in St Petersburg since last September. They were very relieved that they managed to get her home a couple of weeks ago.

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karmi2010 · 20/04/2022 13:23

another option could be going to Georgia? It's a great country and I think quite a lot of people there speak Russian

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Oblomov22 · 23/04/2022 08:42

This is so sad. I studied Russian at Uni early 90's (donkeys years ago) and the year abroad is simply the best bit! I know not what the Uni's can do, because of the Guidance, but my heart goes out to your dd.

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SayThatYouLoveMe · 25/05/2022 15:47

Hi everyone, just thought I’d come back and update, having received so many helpful responses on this thread. DD’s university have just told her year group that they’ve managed to secure places for those studying Russian at a Russian language school in Estonia. Very few details so far, but looks like her and her cohort will be there for the first two terms of the next academic year, and will spend the final term in the country of their second language. Dd is delighted and very glad not to be doing online learning from her bedroom.

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Chaotica · 25/05/2022 15:52

That's excellent news, OP. I was just reading this thread and going to suggest studying Russian in Bulgaria as an option, but it looks like your DD has it sorted.

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SayThatYouLoveMe · 25/05/2022 16:24

Thank you @Chaotica. I’m very impressed that dd’s uni have sorted out an alternative year abroad programme for the Russian students. They didn’t have any previous links with Estonia, so it must have taken a fair amount of time to research and arrange.

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Fifthtimelucky · 25/05/2022 16:56

That's good news.

My friend's daughter is apparently going to Estonia and Kazakhstan.

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MidLifeCrisis007 · 25/05/2022 20:03

DS was due to go to Russia in Sept 2023 and he's also mentioned that he may be going to Estonia.

It's an amazing country. Lovely people, quaint architecture and beautiful countryside... and surprisingly warm at times in the Summer! Oh and no shortage of moose.....

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riesenrad · 31/05/2022 10:24

Oh that's great news. I am sure Estonia will be a great experience in its own right, and close to other Baltic states and Finland for weekend trips!

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Xenia · 31/05/2022 14:34

Estonia sounds like a good compromise (and a safe one) in the circumstances.

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