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Languages at UW-Madison



Russian is a strategic world language: Russia spans 9 time zones and covers about 1/8th of the world’s land surface. It is the largest country in the world by area, almost twice the size of the United States. Russian is spoken throughout the former Soviet Union, especially throughout the former Soviet Republics in Central Asia, where Russian is a lingua franca. Russian is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Learning Russian prepares you to join the world economy: Russia is one of the largest producers of many natural resources and raw materials, including petroleum, diamonds, gold, copper, manganese, uranium, silver, graphite, platinum, and timber. Russia continues to play a major role in US foreign policy and international affairs.

Studying Russian is a gateway to Russian culture! Imagine reading Dostoevsky and Tolstoy in their original forms; appreciating the poetry of Pushkin, Pasternak, and Brodsky in Russian; having a deeper understanding of Russian avant-garde artists including Chagall, Kandinsky, and Malevich; seeing Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky operas and listening to Rachmaninoff songs without translations; studying groundbreaking Russian theater and cinema in their original language. New worlds will be open to you!


Anna Tumarkin,

Language Conversation Table 

Contact Sarah Bennett,


Live in Русский дом / Russkii Dom, the Russian House in the International Learning Community.

Study Abroad 

You can study Russian in Russia and Kazakhstan. Contact International Academic Programs for more information. Additional opportunities are available through the Wisconsin School of Business.

Student Organizations 

Russian Student Association; browse the Wisconsin Involvement Network for more information.


Consider an internship where you can use Russian, either in the US or abroad. An internship in any field can complement your language study and can provide valuable professional experience.

Summer Study Options 

Russian is frequently offered during the summer. Please consult the Schedule of Classes for detailed course information.

First-Year Interest Group (FIG) with Russian
Russia and the World

The Russian Flagship
The UW-Madison Russian Flagship Program enables highly motivated undergraduate students from any major to achieve professional competence in Russian. Scholarships are available for intensive summer and overseas study. Don’t miss this unique opportunity! Learn more