The Russian Flagship Program is for highly motivated students who want to achieve professional proficiency in Russian in addition to any major. Students with no prior experience in Russian language typically complete the Flagship Program in 4 or 5 years and graduate with professional proficiency (ILR 3 or ACTFL Superior) and a certificate from the National Security Education Program, a key component of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office in the U.S Department of Defense.
The Russian Flagship is a multi-component program that combines intensive language training with professional development, from writing competitive scholarship applications to an international internship.
Apart from financial support (for summer and/or overseas study), one of the greatest features of the program is free weekly tutoring. Each student works with an individual tutor to boost their linguistic development based on their academic interests and career goals.
For the most part, Flagship students follow the standard sequence of Indiana University’s five-year Russian Language Program. To accelerate their language learning, many Flagship students spend at least one summer studying Russian at the IU Language Workshop, covering a year’s worth of material in just 8 or 9 weeks.
In addition to domestic studies, Russian Flagship students spend one summer in a Russian-speaking country studying Russian and living with host-families, as well as an entire academic year in Almaty, Kazakhstan—the site of the Russian Overseas Flagship program.
Overseas program in Kazakhstan
Flagship students spend their final year (a.k.a. the Capstone year) in Almaty, Kazakhstan at the Russian Overseas Flagship program at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU).
In Almaty, Flagship students continue to intensively study Russian in an immersive environment, using their language skills both in the classroom and in everyday communication at the university, with friends, in local establishments, and, of course, at home with their host families. Moreover, each student has the opportunity to directly enroll in a KazNU course related to their field of study. During the spring semester, Flagship students complete professional internships based on their career aspirations.
When Flagship students go abroad, either for a summer or for the Capstone year, they live with Russian-speaking host families to reinforce language learning. A popular feature of the overseas experience, homestays contributing to language acquisition and to a deeper understanding of Russian and Kazakhstani culture.
Russian Flagship host families provide students with the opportunity to engage in both casual and intellectual conversation in informal settings. Many families include their guests in activities outside the home like weddings or local community events, further establishing bonds of friendship and giving Flagship students the chance to practice using Russian in a variety of social contexts.
Biweekly excursions around Almaty and field trips to Astana, Aktau, Turkestan or Ust-Kamenogorsk offer students social connections with their peers, as well as the opportunity to experience Kazakh culture firsthand.