Semester — Fall 2018
Aug 21-24, 2018 -> Jan 25-28, 2019 Application deadline: February 22, 2018
Spend a year living with a host family and attending high school in Russia and you’ll have the opportunity to experience life in one of the most geographically and culturally diverse nations on earth! At school, at home, and with your friends you’ll be totally immersed in Russian culture. You’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn a critical language and gain an intimate understanding of this fascinating and complex society.
Russians love to speak in idioms and if you learn some of them, they will be very impressed! Many common language expressions feature references to Russia’s rich literary and cinematic history. You’ll probably find that most Russians are very open and will talk frankly about a wide variety of topics. Be prepared for your host family to always be concerned that you’ve had enough to eat. It’s a sign of love!
Your adventure will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet up with your fellow AFS students and attend a brief orientation covering some important basic information that you’ll need to know for your first few days in Russia. Next you’ll travel as a group to Moscow, where you’ll be met by AFS staff and volunteers.
Soon you’ll be off to meet your host family. Along the way you’ll get to see some of Russia’s beautiful landscape. Russia is twice the size of the United States and is made up of many different regions and ecosystems. You might see massive rivers, deep freshwater lakes, wild plains and tundras, and forests. You may also see people working outside in their vegetable gardens and old men sitting in the park playing chess.
You could live anywhere in Russia but it probably won’t be in the big cities. AFS students mostly live with families in small towns in the western and central parts of the country. Many Russian families have a country cottage that they go to on the weekends, where they’ll spend the days working in their gardens, fishing, and hiking.
In urban areas Russian families tend to be on the smaller side, with only one or two children. Out in the country the families are larger and people often live in the same house as their grandparents. During your time with your host family you can expect to be treated like a member of the family and help out with the same types of projects that you’re used to at home.See where past AFSers have lived
Socializing with your friends will probably be a big part of the way you spend your free time. Teenagers in Russia enjoy going to the movies, watching TV, going to theaters and museums, and hanging out in cafes. Soccer, hockey, and track and field are very popular in Russia, as well as volleyball, skiing, and skating. Chess is also very popular both competitively and just for fun.
Get ready for some hearty food! Most meals include pork, noodles, chicken, dumplings, potatoes, cabbage, beet soup, and cabbage soup. Pastries and sweets are often eaten for dessert. For breakfast most Russians eat eggs, sausage, cheeses, bread, and hot cereal. Tea and coffee are both common but tea occupies a particularly special place in Russian culture.
Being a high school student in Russia will give you a unique opportunity to make new friends and learn the language. You’ll also get a chance to learn about Russia’s rich literary tradition. The vast majority of Russian schools are public, and you could be in class with students of a variety of ages. The school year runs from September through May, with three short vacations in between. Depending on your school you might also be able to take extracurricular classes in dance, music, or sports.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.