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xThe Spring 2021 semester will be conducted virtually through part-time and full-time online language immersion programming. The application deadline for online programs has been extended through December 28, 2020.

Business Russian Language & Internship (BRLI) Program

Combining intensive language classes and substantive internships in Moscow, St. Petersburg, or Almaty, Kazakhstan, BRLI gives students invaluable insight into the global workplace and prepares them to use Russian in a professional context. Expert resident directors help participants maximize their immersion through extracurricular activities and excursions.

Program Description

Business Russian Language & Internship (BRLI) ProgramBRLI combines a specially designed curriculum focusing on Russian language for the business world with an internship averaging 10-15 hours per week at a multinational company or business in Russia or Kazakhstan. Program features include homestays, weekly excursions, travel to other regions of the host country, conversation partners, and a wide range of opportunities to pursue hobbies and personal interests in a Russian-language context. The highly individualized BRLI curriculum can be tailored to serve students ranging from intermediate to near native speakers of Russian.

Program Components

AcademicsAcademics / Courses

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 small groups or through individualized instruction. Course offerings vary, but may include topics such as social and economic issues in Russia today, the language of business communication, Russian culture and the workplace, and the fundamentals of business and commercial correspondence in Russian.

Academic year and semester students in Moscow have the option of auditing classes at their host university. In recent years, participants completed courses at their host universities in Art History, Mathematics, Engineering, Sociology, Theater Studies, Russian History, Religion, Psychology, and Literature.

Participants receive academic credit through Bryn Mawr College, an institutional member of American Councils. Upon successful completion of the program, Bryn Mawr College issues:

  • 8 undergraduate/10 graduate credit hours for the summer program,
  • 16 undergraduate/15 graduate credit hours for the fall or spring semesters, and
  • 32 undergraduate/30 graduate credit hours for the academic year program.

LocationsLocations & Institutions

BRLI is currently offered in the following locations:

  • Moscow International University in Moscow, Russia
  • Russian State Pedagogical University (Herzen Institute) in St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU) in Almaty, Kazakhstan

VolunteerInternship Opportunities

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, press offices, Russian- or Kazakh-owned businesses, international trade organizations, and a wide range of 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:

  • MISiS FabLab
  • U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce
  • AVC Advisory
  • Carnegie Moscow Center
  • Center for Humanitarian Aid
  • Hermitage
  • Jensen Group

TutoringConversation Partners

To aid cultural integration and support academic learning, participants have the opportunity to meet with conversation partners two hours per week. Conversation partners introduce participants to local people, accompany participants on sightseeing tours, organize cultural activities (cinema, museum, etc.), and provide students with academic support. The conversation partners are expected to speak only the target language.

ExcursionsExcursions & Cultural Activities

One day a week of the academic program is set aside for travel to local sites of social, cultural and historical significance. All excursions are conducted in Russian and include sites such as museums, churches, schools, research centers, theatres, and historical estates. BRLI participants attend excursions with participants on the Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program (RLASP).

At approximately mid-semester, resident directors arrange a week-long regional field studies trip outside of the host city. For summer participants, these regional field studies take place at the end of their program. BRLI and RLASP groups in Russia have visited sites such as Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-na-Donu, Samara, Sochi, Suzdal, Volgograd, and Yaroslavl, while groups in Almaty have traveled to Nur-Sultan and Ust-Kamenogorsk.

Housing & MealsHousing & Meals

Program participants have the option to live in a university dormitory or with a host family.

Living with a host family provides valuable cultural experience to complement the academic program. Host families expose participants to authentic, everyday life in the host country while also providing a supportive environment for students to practice their growing language skills. While staying with a host family, participants are provided with a private room, two meals per day, and keys to the apartment or house. All host families are screened, selected, and monitored by American Councils home-stay coordinators and resident directors.

Participants who choose the dormitory option share a room with other American Councils participants or with other international students. Two meals a day are provided.


All program participants are required to attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation in Washington, D.C. at the start of the program. Orientation sessions address health and safety, academic and business culture, host-family life, culture shock, and strategies to maximize language gain. Students will also have a chance to meet and get to know their resident directors, fellow participants, and alumni during the orientation. Lodging and meals will be provided. Upon arrival in the host country, participants attend an informative in-country orientation.

ScholarshipSupport Services

Support Staff

While overseas, participants have access to in-country program staff that provide around-the-clock emergency support. A full-time resident director oversees the academic and cultural program; assists participants in academic, administrative and personal matters; and coordinates activities with the host institution faculty. During the program, the AC Study Abroad Team in Washington, D.C. stays in close contact via email and telephone with in-country program staff and provides updates as needed to study abroad offices, university partners, and family members.


Participants are enrolled in comprehensive overseas health, accident, and evacuation insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) for the duration of the program. CISI provides medical coverage of up to $250,000 per accident or illness. Enrollment in the CISI plan also provides full coverage for emergency medical evacuation.


All participants are provided with a single-entry visa to the host-country for the duration of the academic program. It is the student's responsibility to obtain any other visas required by their individual itineraries. Visa application information and forms are provided upon acceptance to the program.

SupportFinancial Aid

American Councils established the AC Study Abroad Scholarship Fund to help provide additional financial support for students to study abroad. All applicants to American Councils summer, semester, or academic-year overseas programs are eligible for partial scholarship awards from this fund including the following:

  • AC Study Abroad Alumni Scholarship
    As a way to thank our returning participants, all AC Study Abroad Alumni that enroll in another AC Study Abroad program will automatically receive a $500 scholarship towards a summer program, or a $1,000 scholarship towards a semester program. Interested alumni should contact the AC Study Abroad Team via email.

  • AC Study Abroad Diversity Scholarship
    The AC Study Abroad Diversity Scholarship is available to students who have traditionally been underrepresented in study abroad and educational exchange programs. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals who identify with certain racial, sexual, ethnic, religious, gender, disability, age, origin, ancestry or veteran statuses. The scholarship is also available to first generation college students, students from low income families, and students with a history of overcoming adversity.

  • AC Study Abroad Language & Area Studies Expert Scholarship
    Students that participate on consecutive summer area studies programs and semester or academic year language immersion programs will automatically receive an AC Study Abroad Language and Area Studies Expert Scholarship of $1,000 towards the cost of their semester-long program. Interested individuals must apply to both programs by the earlier deadline, and contact the AC Study Abroad Team via email. Cannot be combined with the AC Study Abroad Alumni Scholarship.

  • AC Study Abroad Need-Based Scholarship
    All applicants to American Councils summer, semester, or academic-year overseas programs are eligible for partial fellowship awards from this fund.

  • Dan E. Davidson Fellowship
    Established in honor of American Councils’ founder and President Emeritus and his four decades of leadership in the field of international education, the Dan E. Davidson Fellowship supports highly qualified and deserving individuals who demonstrate a dedication to successful international collaboration and the development of greater mutual understanding between the U.S. and countries around the world. Fellowships of up to $2,000 will be awarded for summer study, up to $6,000 for semester study and up to $12,000 for academic-year programs. Learn More →

Awards are made on the basis of financial need and academic merit, and typically range from $500 to $2500 unless otherwise noted.

Visit our Financial Aid page for more information on scholarship and funding opportunities through American Councils and outside sources.

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