Study Abroad


Spring Term in Irkutsk, Russia (2014)

Students interested in global environmental issues as well as those hoping to gain a better understanding of Russian language and culture are invited to join Professor Kristin Bidoshi for an experience of a life time in Irkutsk, Russia. Siberia is renowned for its pristine environment. Ride the Trans-Siberian railway, walk along the Angara River, hike the beautiful trails and experience everything Lake Baikal has to offer. Affectionately known as the Blue Pearl of Siberia, Lake Baikal is the world’s largest, deepest, freshwater lake, holding 20% of the world’s surface fresh water. The area is also home to the Buryat tribes, Mongols whose ancestors suffered the wrath of Genghis Kahn, yet continue to enjoy a close relationship to the land as reindeer herders. Evenings in downtown Irkutsk, a city of 600,000, offer a variety of entertainment, from traditional Buryat folk festivals to concerts at the Philharmonic, from strolls along the Angara River to experiencing the active night club scene. Tour the Kremlin in Moscow and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg on our end of the term excursions to the present-day and former capital of Russia.

Course of Study

Students will study the history and environment of Siberia both in a formal classroom setting (at Irkutsk State University) and beyond the classroom as they take an active role in understanding and working with the major forces of environmental activism in the city. Through participation in carefully selected internships, students will have the opportunity to work in local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as the Great Lake Baikal Trail, schools or museums.

The courses offered in Irkutsk are:

History and Environment of SiberiaRussian Language (RUS 100-300T, depending on placement level) and Siberia Internship MLT300T (seeking WAC credit). The History and Environment of Siberia and Russian Language course will be taught by faculty at Irkutsk State University; the MLT 300T: Siberia Internship course will be taught by Prof. Bidoshi who will also place students in internships based on their individual interests. Weekly structured exercises are designed to help students understand local culture and local organizations, and students will devise an original longer project in the second half of the term. Students will work in the community for 10-12 hours per week. The program is sponsored through the School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS), a third party provider.


In and around Irkutsk: Lake Baikal, Ulan Ude trip (to see the largest statue of Lenin’s head in the world, Ivolginsky Datsan a monastery in the heart of Buddhist Russia, a tour of yurts, native Siberian houses), Decembrists Museum, city center walk, art museum, nature museum, mineralogical museum, Buryat cultural performances.
In Moscow: Kremlin, Cold War Museum, Chocolate Factory, walking tour of city (overnight train to Petersburg)

In Petersburg: Hermitage (Winter Palace), Peter and Paul Fortress, Aurora, Russian Museum, Russian banya (sauna).


Successful completion of at least one Russian language course, such as Beginning Russian 1 (RUS 100) prior to participating on the term abroad.


Students will live with Russian host families in Irkutsk and will stay in hotels and youth hostels in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Central Europe

The Partnership for Global Education’s Central Europe program is based in sites in Germany (Tuebingen and Chemnitz), Hungary (Budapest), and Romania (Cluj-Napoca) and examine issues related to ethnicity and multi-cultural and the process of socioeconomic and political transition underway in the region. Each site provides a different perspective on these issues, facilitating comparative analysis that will provide students with insight into the implications of these issues for Europe and beyond.

Contact:  Dr. Thomas D’Agostino, Partnership for Global Education

Czech Republic

Union College students can also elect to study abroad at Czech Technical University in Prague.  For further information on this program, please consult the following website: .

Contact: Lara Atkins, Director of International Programs