Business Russian Language and Internship (BRLI) Program

Combining intensive business language classes and an internship in Moscow or St. Petersburg, BRLI prepares students to use Russian in the international workplace.


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BRLI combines a specially designed curriculum focusing on the language of Russian business with an internship averaging ten to fifteen hours per week at a multinational company, business, or non-governmental organization agency in Russia. Moscow International University and the Russian State Pedagogical (Herzen) University in St. Petersburg host this program; students may apply to study for a semester, academic year, or summer. BRLI participants are granted U.S. academic credit through Bryn Mawr College. Program features include homestays, weekly excursions, travel to other regions of Russia, conversation partners, and a wide range of opportunities to pursue hobbies and personal interests in a Russian context.

The highly individualized BRLI curriculum can be tailored to serve students ranging from intermediate to near native speakers of Russian; however, less advanced students should consider whether their language proficiency will enable them to engage in substantive internships and benefit from instruction in the style and lexicon of business speech. (Students lacking a strong command of Russian grammar, for example, should consider enrolling in RLASP before applying to the BRLI program.) Peer tutoring, Russian-American discussion clubs, and a broad range of extra-curricular activities provide unique opportunities for BRLI students to connect with Russian friends and immerse themselves in daily Russian life.

One day per week of the academic program is set aside for local cultural excursions. Excursions and travel include major sites such as art galleries and churches, but also include destinations off the beaten path.Students also participate on an extended regional field studies outside their host city.

Participants have the option of living with host families or in university dormitories. Host families provide private rooms and engage students in conversation and culture. All participants receive two meals per day.

American Councils provides informative pre-departure and in-country orientations for all participants, along with full-time, expert resident directors in Moscow and St. Petersburg for 24-hour support and assistance. All participants are enrolled in comprehensive health and accident insurance during their program.

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Academic Program

The highly flexible BRLI program serves students ranging from intermediate to heritage speakers of Russian. All levels of instruction provide ten to fifteen hours of in-class contact, either in private tutorials or small groups.

Course offerings vary, but may include elements of:

  • The Language of Business Communication
  • Fundamentals of Business and Commercial Correspondence in Russian
  • Russia Today: Social and Economic Issues
  • Conversational Russian
  • Russian Business Press
  • Russian Culture and the Russian Workplace
  • Business Russian Survival Skills
  • Russian Computers

Language classes are conducted in small groups of three to five or in one-on-one tutorials. Area studies courses may also be conducted in private tutorials.

Auditing Classes

In addition to attending American Councils courses, BRLI participants are encouraged to audit regular classes at their host university during the academic year (September through May). This feature depends significantly upon university schedules and the readiness of individual faculty to accommodate American students whose schedules require early completion of the class. With guidance from the resident director, it is the responsibility of each BRLI student to locate a viable class and obtain permission from the instructor to attend.

Peer Tutoring

American Councils has a peer-tutoring program for all BRLI participants. All BRLI participants are required to meet for two hours per week with peer tutors recruited from the Department of Russian as a Foreign Language at their host universities. In addition to valuable academic support, the peer-tutoring program provides an important opportunity for participants to broaden their connections with Russians of their own age.

Academic Credit

BRLI participants receive graduate or undergraduate academic credit through Bryn Mawr College. Semester participants receive 16 undergraduate or 15 graduate semester hours; academic year participants receive 32 undergraduate semester or 30 graduate semester hours; summer participants receive 8 undergraduate or 10 graduate semester hours.



Program participants may live in a university dormitory or with a Russian host family. The majority of American Councils participants choose the host-family option. All host families provide private rooms, telephone access, and keys for their American guests. Host families also provide two meals per day. Living with a host family immerses program participants in everyday Russian life, while offering some of the comforts of home. Host families also expose participants to authentic, contemporary language and culture in informal, social settings.

All host families are screened, selected, and monitored by American Councils home-stay coordinators and resident directors. Students may change their housing arrangements during the program, although these adjustments require some time to be completed.



American Councils arranges unpaid, non-credit bearing internships based upon each participant's language ability and field of interest. Internships are available in regional offices of U.S. businesses, U.S.-Russian joint venture companies, non-governmental organizations, press offices, Russian-owned businesses, international trade organizations, and a wide range of charities and non-profits. Classes are held four days a week, allowing participants to spend one full day per week at their internships.

Recent program participants completed internships at:

  • AVC Advisory
  • Carnegie Moscow Center
  • Center for Humanitarian Aid
  • Center for the Development of Non-Profit Organizations
  • Hermitage
  • Jensen Group
  • Political History Museum
  • Sakharov Center
  • U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce



All BRLI participants attend a pre-departure orientation in Washington, D.C. at the start of their program. Orientation sessions address health and safety, Russian academic culture, host-family life, culture shock, strategies to maximize language gain, and key survival phrases in Russian. Participants have a chance to meet and get to know their resident directors, fellow participants, and BRLI alumni during the two-day program. Students are housed in three-person rooms in a downtown hotel, a short walk from the American Councils Washington office. Participants depart for Russia from Washington, DC at the end of the program. Lodging and meals are provided.



Program Costs

Room and Board: $3,000
Excursions and In-country Travel:$800
Health Insurance:$300
Visa Fee:$300*

Tuition: $6,750
Room and Board: $1,750
Excursions and In-country Travel: $600
Health Insurance: $150
Visa Fee: $300*
TOTAL: $9,550

Room and Board: $3,000
Excursions and In-country Travel:$800
Health Insurance:$300
Visa Fee:$300*

Tuition: $28,000
Room and Board: $6,300
Excursions and In-country Travel: $1,600
Health Insurance: $600
Visa Fee: $300*
TOTAL: $36,800

Items not included in the program cost:

  • Domestic transportation to Washington, DC for pre-departure orientation: cost varies
  • International Airfare to/from Russia: approximately $1,000 - $1,500**
  • Books and supplies: $150 (per semester)
  • Local transportation: $200 (per semester)
  • Lunches not included in Board cost: $200 for summer; $400 per semester

Program price includes housing; tuition; most meals; all group travel in Russia; insurance; orientation in Washington, D.C.; and a Russian visa.

*The visa fee will be waived for students who do not need a Russian visa to participate on the program (e.g. Russian passport holders). However, these students will be charged a $100 registration fee.

Please note that Russian passport holders will be expected to travel on their Russian passports and, therefore, will be treated as Russian citizens abroad. The U.S. Embassy may not be able to assist Russian passport holders if any issues or problems arise. Male Russian passport holders between the ages of 18 and 27 may encounter problems if they have not satisfied service requirements in Russia. Please see the Department of State website on dual citizenship for more information.

**Participants have the option of purchasing directly from American Councils a round-trip ticket on the flight with resident directors from Washington, DC to Russia or purchasing their own airline ticket. The pre-departure orientation held in Washington, DC immediately before the program is mandatory for all participants.

Program Deferral

For information on deferring and withdrawing, please visit our program policies webpage.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid

American Councils Funding Sources

American Councils offers a limited number of merit- and need-based scholarships for students from its Outbound Scholarship Fund. All applicants to American Councils summer, semester, or academic-year overseas programs are eligible for partial fellowship awards from this fund. Awards are limited, and are made on the basis of financial need and academic merit.

Federal Sources of Funding for Study Abroad

The National Security Education Program has funded RLASP participants in the past. For more information, visit:

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship may be applicable to this program. The online application is available at the Gilman Program website:

Additional Considerations

Many colleges and universities also provide financial aid for participation in American Councils programs. For more information on scholarship and funding opportunities, visit the Financial Aid page.


Application Deadlines

  • Summer Term: February 15th
  • Fall Semester, Academic Year Program: March 15th
  • Spring Semester: October 15th

Program Dates

  • 2016 Spring: January 21 (departure for Russia) - May 19, 2016
  • 2016 Summer: June 9 (departure for Russia) - August 8, 2016
  • 2016 Fall: August 25 (departure for Russia) - December 20, 2016
  • 2016 - 2017 Academic Year: August 25, 2016 (departure for Russia) - May 18, 2017
  • 2017 Spring: January 26 (departure for Russia) - May 18, 2016