The Bard-Smolny Summer Language Intensive (SLI) provides challenging courses for students who have completed between two and six semesters of college-level Russian or its equivalent. Students can choose to enroll for four or eight weeks; the four-week program focuses on solidifying language concepts already covered while improving language skills, and the eight-week program is the equivalent of one year of Russian at a North American institution and covers text such as V Puti: Russian Grammar in Context and materials developed by Russian as a Second Language faculty. Students' Russian level will be measured with a short assessment administered at the time of application.
The SLI is intensive, with 22 hours of class per week, daily quizzes and written assignments, and weekly tests. Class sizes are small (typically 8 to 10 students) with course work that emphasizes vocabulary acquisition, grammar comprehension, reading improvement, and writing achievement, as well as verbal and aural precision. Language is taught in conjunction with our cultural program, which integrates academic experience with a feel for the city of St. Petersburg. Course work for upper-level students includes a thematic workshop that focuses on language learning through content-specific instruction, such as Russian history and literature.
The Development, Environment, and Social Change Practicum consists of two major components: a practicum and a seminar. Students gain first-hand exposure to key development stakeholders - local as well as international - in the region. The modular coursework offers an inter-disciplinary scaffolding for critical reflection and thoughtful analysis. The course readings provide a theoretical and methodological foundation for the participants to delve into the connections between theory and the work of NGOs and policy organizations in Kyrgyzstan's dynamic multi-ethnic society. North American students enroll in this practicum alongside AUCA students - enabling a rich environment for diverse view-point and cross-cultural perspectives on global issues. Course readings and group project topics might include such as citizenship participation in the post-Soviet state, human rights, development and the role of NGOs in new democracies, and the effect of globalization in Central Asia. Thought leaders in the NGO and policy communities will also visit the group to bring local perspectives to the discussion. The course develops critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills as well as an understanding of the dynamic forces at work in this complex region.
Students who have not studied Russian will be offered a survival Russian course at the beginning of the program. Optional Russian, Kyrgyz, or other regional language study is available for an additional fee.
The program is based in artistic practice, including studio arts, performance, media, and the interplay among them. History and theory courses take an interdisciplinary approach to draw upon the wealth of Berlin's museums, monuments, galleries, performances, and non-traditional venues.