American Councils (ACTR)Incorporated in 1974 as the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR), American Councils was founded to advance research, training, and materials development in the fields of Russian and English, as well as strengthen communication within and among the communities of scholars and educators in language, literature, and area studies of the United States and the former Soviet Union. In 1987, the ACTR Board of Directors created the American Council for Collaboration in Education and Language Study (ACCELS), which quickly became a leader in the design and administration of exchange and training programs funded by the U.S. government. In 1998, ACTR/ACCELS created a new organizational structure with a new name, American Councils for International Education. ACTR and ACCELS are divisions of American Councils.
Today American Councils employs more than 300 expatriates and host-country nationals in 34 offices throughout Russia, Eurasia, and Southeastern Europe. Overseas offices administer educational testing centers, recruit students and scholars for exchange programs to the U.S., and organize educational events.
In addition to directing study abroad and research programs in Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe, American Councils plays a vital role in the development of educational materials for teachers and students of Russian and Eurasian languages. American Councils has produced more than thirty textbooks for the study of Russian at U.S. colleges and high schools, including, Face to Face, and the Stages series - the most widely used texts in the country. American Councils' Internet sites for the study of Russian and other languages of the former Soviet Union, including Russnet (www.russnet.org) and CenAsiaNet (www.cenasianet.org), provide a unique array of electronic resources to teachers and students of Russian, Uzbek, Kazakh, Azeri and Turkmen. Today, American Councils is developing an Advanced Placement test that will enable high school students to gain university credit for their Russian language studies.
I learned a lot of new words, how to navigate and conduct myself in a Russian office environment, and a lot about the non-profit sector and NGOs in Russia. I do think that my Russian was enhanced, both in that I was exposed to an entire new category of words that had not been a part of my vocabulary, and in that I was regularly conversing with Russians. It was the best aspect of my stay in Russia.