Why Study Russian?
Russian is the first language of approximately 150 million people and has long served as a lingua franca for millions more in the countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, as well as Central Asia. Here a just a few of the many reasons to study Russian.
Russia's re-entry into the world economic system has opened up an enormous and largely unexploited market for western goods and services. Russia possesses a well-educated work force and vast natural resources; given these conditions, business opportunities in the region can only increase over time. A large number of U.S. companies have already established business relationships with Russia, and western European firms are even more actively investing in the region.
- Government, politics, and international relations
Russia continues to play a central role in global politics, and there are a wide variety of career opportunities in both governmental and non-governmental organizations for people with Russian language skills. The far-reaching changes in the Russian government and society as a whole that began with the fall of communism offer students of Russian an exciting opportunity to study a nation in transition.
- Different culture
Studying a foreign language offers a unique opportunity to experience another culture in depth. Russia's position on the boundary between Europe and Asia and its unique history have produced a complex and fascinating cultural environment, and there are now many more opportunities than in the past to travel there and experience this society first-hand. Knowledge of the Russian language opens the door to the study of Russia's rich tradition of literature, art, and music. And while studying Russian language and culture is an intellectually stimulating and enriching experience in itself, the cultural knowledge and understanding that can be gained also have career implications. Most large employers in the U.S. are international corporations that need employees who have the ability to function successfully in foreign settings and to deal with their international business partners. Even if you don't use your specific knowledge of Russian, the cultural awareness you gain can easily transfer to other situations and settings.
- Door to other languages
Russian belongs to the Slavic group of languages , which is divided into West Slavic (Czech, Slovak, Polish, and Sorbian), South Slavic (Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian, Serbian, and Slovenian), and East Slavic (Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian). Learning Russian opens the door of opportunity for facilitating the learning of other Slavic languages, those spoken by a little over 300 million people from Eastern Europe to Northern Asia. Take a moment to look a the map of Slavic languages below (special thanks to Wikipedia).