Program Policies

The policies below are summarized. For more detailed information on the policies and terms of American Councils for International Education Russian Language Programs, please contact Outbound staff at outbound@americancouncils.org.

Admissions

Admission to all American Councils Russian Language Programs is competitive and is based on Russian language ability, academic record, personal essays, and references. An outside panel of Russian language professionals reviews applications and selects the finalists. American Councils Outbound staff may interview applicants as part of the admissions process.

Acceptance into the program is conditional on the student's continued ability to meet eligibility requirements. These requirements include mandatory attendance at the pre-departure orientation in Washington, DC, timely submission of all forms to the American Councils Washington office, and compliance with American Councils visa regulations. American Councils reserves the right to withdraw acceptance to the program if a student suffers a severe drop in GPA, is the subject of legal or disciplinary action, or fails to maintain American Councils confidence that she/he will be successful on the program.

Russian Language Policy

American Councils requires students to speak Russian in university classes, on the grounds of the university, when speaking with university staff, officials and teachers, and on group excursions. Violation of this policy will result in grade reduction.

Pre-Departure Orientation

All participants must attend the pre-departure orientation in Washington, DC. Housing and meals are provided during the orientation. Attendance at pre-departure orientation is required for all program participants, regardless of time previously spent in Russia.

Travel Policies

International travel: Students must travel to Russia on the last day of orientation and they must leave Russia by the last day of the program period. Participants are not allowed to travel outside of Russia during their program and cannot travel to areas that are deemed unsafe by the U.S. Embassy or Russian government. Participants studying in Russia for longer than one period (i.e. fall and spring, spring and summer, or summer and fall) can leave the country during the official program breaks.

Independent travel within Russia: Participants must alert the program's Resident Director of his/her intention to travel independently in Russia at least one week before any planned trip. Participants are also required to complete an "Independent Travel Form" before leaving on any trip.

Extending the study abroad experience:
Students often decide while in Russia that they would like to continue studying abroad on American Councils programs for an additional term. Those students wishing to extend (whether from fall to spring, spring to summer, or summer to fall) must submit a new statement of purpose, new financial aid application (if applicable) and a recommendation for the Resident Director to the Washington, D.C. American Councils office by the following application deadlines: October 1 (Spring semester); March 1 (Summer term); June 15 (Fall semester).

Visas and other documents: Students must carry their passport, visa, migration card, and registration at all times while in Russia. Visas are valid only for through the dates of the American Councils program. Students must leave Russia by the last day of the program.

Host Family Policy

Host families provide participants with private rooms and keys to the home, as well as two meals per day. American Councils requires that participants treat their host family with respect and courtesy. Each participant must be understanding of the family's customs, diets and schedules; have realistic expectations of what the family can do for the participant; keep his/her room tidy; inform the family when he/she expects to miss a meal or return home late; refrain from rude/offensive behavior; and must not invite guests over without the host family's permission. Under no circumstance will students be allowed to have overnight guests. Failure to comply with American Councils' rules could result in expulsion from the host family and other disciplinary actions.

Withdrawal and Deferral Policy

Withdrawal before the program starting date:

A non-refundable deposit of $1,500 is required to hold your place on the program. If written notification is received before the program starting date, American Councils will refund all program fees except for this $1,500 deposit. In cases where the program deposit has not yet been received by American Councils, these fees will be due.

In the case of withdrawal by an American Councils scholarship recipient, all scholarship funds received must be returned to American Councils within 14 days of the withdrawal notification.

Please note that all programs are considered to start on the first day of pre-departure orientation.

Withdrawal on and up to 30 days after the program starting date:

A non-refundable deposit of $1,500 is required to hold your place on the program. If written notification of withdrawal is received on or up to 30 days after the program starting date or if a confirmed participant does not notify American Councils in writing of his/her withdrawal and does not attend the pre-departure orientation, American Councils will refund all program fees except for the $1,500 deposit plus one month of program tuition and housing (see program cost break down). Students will also be charged a ticket change fee, if applicable.

In the case of withdrawal by an American Councils scholarship recipient, all scholarship funds received must be returned to American Councils within 14 days of the withdrawal notification.

Withdrawal 30 days after the program starting date:

Students who withdraw from the program after 30 days will not receive any program refund. However, in the case of students who must withdraw due to a medical or other emergency American Councils will attempt to return any recoverable costs.

In the case of withdrawal by an American Councils scholarship recipient, all scholarship funds received must be returned to American Councils within 14 days of the withdrawal notification.

Deferral before the program starting date:

A non-refundable deposit of $1,500 is required to hold your place on the program. If written notification of deferral is received before the program start date, American Councils will refund all program fees except for this $1,500 deposit. However, this non-refundable deposit (minus the visa fee) will be applied towards any future participation on an American Councils’ study abroad program within the next 11 months. Participants who defer acceptance to a program will be sent an American Councils Deferral Credit Form. This form outlines the amount paid by the participant toward his/her initial program and must be returned to American Councils when the participant is ready to confirm participation in a program for a new term. The Deferral Credit Form must be returned along with a written request for reactivation of the application by the appropriate application deadline.

In the case of withdrawal by an American Councils scholarship recipient, all scholarship funds received must be returned to American Councils within 14 days of the withdrawal notification.

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