The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 created many newly independent republics, and the United States has since been striving to strike or maintain political and economic bonds with them all. Knowledge of Russian history, culture, economics, and language is fundamental to the success of this endeavor. As a Russian major, you’ll spend most of your time becoming skilled in the Russian language, which will mean, among other things, learning a completely different alphabet (unless you already have experience with Russian). Many universities offer multimedia instruction for languages classes, so you’ll have a variety of means to explore your use and understanding of Russian. You’ll learn about Russian literature by studying great writers like Dostoevsky. You’ll study politics and economics. You’ll learn about what it means to be a Russian, and how the new republics define their places in the world. There is quite a bit to learn about the Russian culture, and the interdisciplinary nature of the major will give you the opportunity to explore many different fields. One of the benefits of majoring in a foreign language is the perspective you’ll gain on your own language and culture. Since our world is becoming increasingly integrated, a deep knowledge of another language and culture will be an asset no matter what career you choose to pursue.
When you’re planning to major in a foreign language, the most valuable courses you can take are, drum roll, please…courses in other languages! See what your high school offers in French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, or others. Take a lot of courses in history, art, music, English, and political science; foreign language majors usually include a great deal about the culture of the mother country.