St Petersburg, Russia Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg: The City

Saint Petersburg is Russia’s second largest city after Moscow with 4.6 million inhabitants. Saint Petersburg is a major European cultural centre, and an important Russian port on the Baltic sea. Saint Petersburg is often described as the most Western city of Russia. The Historic Center of Saint Petersburg and related groups of monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is also home to The Hermitage, the largest art museum in the world.

Colby in St. Petersburg was established in 1992 to enable a small number (maximum of 5 students per semester) of intermediate or upper-intermediate Russian language students to study in a small group or individual tutorial setting. The program has a fixed academic curriculum of 16 semester credits: Russian grammar; phonetics; conversation; composition; Russian literature class; and Russian history. All classes meet at the St. Petersburg Classical Gimnazii, the students’ host institution in St. Petersburg and all courses are conducted by St. Petersburg instructors, contracted and evaluated by Colby.

Available fall or spring semester and JanPlan.


The Colby in St. Petersburg academic program is unique in that the class size is very small, ensuring maximum, daily participation from each student. Students’ work is very intensive and students typically progress quickly due to so much individual attention. Colby in St. Petersburg is designed largely as a program to develop skills in the Russian language. A Russian History and/or a political science course will be taught mostly in English. In addition to the group classes, each student will have individual classes with instructors of phonetics, grammar, conversation, and composition throughout the semester. Classes will not be held during planned excursions and planned travel.

With advance notice, the Gimnaziia is able to arrange an additional tutorial in a subject of your choice. This amounts to a fifth course in your St. Petersburg semester. Students in the past have completed anthropology, biology, and mathematics courses with Russian professors.

All classes meet at the St. Petersburg Classical Gimnazii, the students’ host institution in St. Petersburg. Students can be assured, however, they are receiving high quality university level instruction. All courses are conducted by St. Petersburg instructors, contracted and evaluated by Colby.


A special feature of Colby in St. Petersburg is the opportunity to live with Russian host families, carefully selected by the Gimnaziia staff and visited often by Colby Russian staff. Family residence is the single best way to get beneath the surface of Russian life, to be a resident of the city and not merely a tourist or visiting student.

Other Program Offerings

  • Student support services provided by Program Director Sergei Buryachko and staff
  • The Gimnaziia has arranged for the American students to have a university “buddy” in St.Petersburg.
  • There is a full program of cultural activities, guided excursions and travel, tailored to students’ interests, all included in the program fee.
  • There is the option to teach English or organize some after-school club or activity at the St. Petersburg Classical Gimnaziia.

Program Schedule

Fall: Early September-mid December
Spring: February-mid may

Program Fee

The fees for Colby programs abroad are equivalent to the comprehensive fees for Colby College. (Please note that program fees are also subject to any annual comprehensive fee increases.) Students are billed by Colby, and are exempt from the $1000 study abroad fee. The fee covers: tuition, room, board or a board allowance, excursions, and roundtrip airfare and transfers to program sites. Books, meals during vacation periods, insurance, and personal travel are not included. A forfeitable deposit of $500 is due at the time of acceptance.


Open to students in good standing who have a cumulative grade point average of 2.7 or higher and have had at least four semesters of college Russian.

Contact Professor Julie de Sherbinin in the Department of German and Russian for more details.

To Apply

Colby programs abroad are open to any student, regardless of major, who meets the specific program requirements outlined above.

Colby students should follow the Colby Application for Approval process due February 20.