Russia - Exploring Russian culture and national identity (in English)

RUSS 303 | 3 credits

About the program

This course is led by Veta Chitnev, The Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies. 

Dates: Vancouver - May 16-June 7, 2022 : Moscow - June 8-June 22, 2022

Topic:  A selection of themes related to Russia and Russian culture. How do Russians view themselves and conceive of their own identity? What do Russians think makes them “Russian”?

Locations visited: Moscow, Russia

Funding: This is an Arts Research Abroad (ARA) funded program. The ARA program aims to ensure that upper-level international research courses are accessible to academically qualified students, and that scholarly preparation and aspiration rather than financial means are the deciding factors for student participation. Funded by a generous gift from donors, the Faculty of Arts, and Go Global, the ARA program sponsors advanced research-intensive courses involving international travel.  70% of the program cost will be offset for academically qualified students; and up to 100% of the cost may be offset for academically qualified students who demonstrate financial need (as determined by Enrolment Services). 

Students can only be considered for one major International Learning Award throughout their degree e.g. ARA (Arts Research Abroad) funded Global Seminars, Undergraduate Research Conference. 

About the course

The course includes a selection of themes related to Russia and Russian culture. How do Russians view themselves and conceive of their own identity? What do Russians think makes them “Russian”? The scope of the topics covered will range from the representation of the major historical events and significant figures in Russian culture to the role of religion in shaping and reshaping Russian ethnic identity. 

This course is a powerful tool for developing intercultural competence, and it will facilitate your cultural knowledge, reflexivity, and critical thinking. You will have an opportunity to 

  • compare your perception of Russian people’s conventions described in literature and covered in class in pre-departure lectures you’re your experience of observing Russian people and interacting with them; 
  • visit museums and historical sites that allow a deeper understanding of Russian cultural history. 

The research component will contribute to the development of your critical thinking skills and will allow you to explore a topic of your interest in greater depth. 

Experience in the field 


Topics and Activities  

May 16-May 22 


Readings and prerecorded lectures posted on Canvas: 

  • Introduction:  
  • The concepts of “culture” and “national identity.” 
  • Geography & population  
  • The language and identity. 

May 23-May 29 


Reading materials and prerecorded lectures posted on Canvas: 

  • The representation of the major historical events and significant figures in Russian culture.  
  • An overview of Russian philosophical thought  

May 30 – June 8 


Reading materials and prerecorded lectures posted on Canvas: 

  • The Orthodox Church. Identity and religion 
  • "Us against Them": Imaginary ideological homogeneity of Soviet identity in the novel Master and Margarita.  
  • Russian fairytales 

June 6 - Vancouver 

Research proposal is due 

June 8 – June 15 



  • Orientation 
  • 2 hours of practical Russian for travelers  
  • Lectures by Veta Chitnev: 1. Russia’s folk culture. Fairytale as a construction and reflection of cultural values. 2. (Location RUDN) 

Site visits:  

Full day excursions: 

June 15 – June 22 



  • Lectures by Veta Chitnev1. "Us against Them": National Identity across history  
  • 2. The Great Patriotic War. The narrative of power and suffering 
  •  3. Russian Province (Location RUDN) 
  • Farewell dinner  

Site visits:  

Full day excursions: 

July 15 

Research paper is due 

Notable environmental conditions

The weather in Moscow during that time of the year is quite comfortable. Daily high temperatures increase by 3°C, from 20°C to 23°C, rarely falling below 14°C or exceeding 29°C. Because there is plenty of walking involved, make sure you bring comfortable shoes. 


You will stay on the RUDN campus, which is situated in southwestern Moscow in a beautiful and ecologically clean area of the city. The most “green” Russian university (according to the UIGreenMetric World University Ranking) is located nearby the parkland covering 50 hectares. You will live in the dorms, in apartments with equipped kitchen, bathroom, Internet connection, and Satellite TV.

More information about the campus you can find here.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be enrolled in UBC Vancouver’s Faculty of Arts.
  • Be in your third, fourth, or final year of study.
  • Be enrolled in at least 24 credits in the Winter Session before the program and be registered in 24 credits in the current Winter Session, or sufficient to graduate.  Please note that students with exceptional circumstances regarding credit loads can identify themselves to Go Global to request an exemption from this requirement.
  • Have a minimum average of 70% with no failed or incomplete courses.
  • Further eligibility requirements particular to each program will be noted below.

How to apply

Application deadline 

January 27, 2022

  1. Log in to the Gateway online application program 
  2. Select “Search Experiences” and type "GSP" to explore Global Seminars programs 
  3. Upload the application form for your selected Global Seminar – see Application documents below 

*Please note that you can apply for up to a maximum of 2 Global Seminars*

Program fees and costs

ARA funding will offset 70%-100% of the CAD $2,800-$3,100 in program fees and flight costs. 

Students are responsible for covering the cost of 3 credits of UBC tuition.

The final fee depends on the number of students in the program. Students do not pay the Go Global fee when applying to a Global Seminar. The Go Global fee ($415) is built into the Program Fee and is payable upon acceptance to the program. 

Global seminars refund policy

To withdraw from your program, you must contact Go Global by email to request a withdrawal.  You will not be charged until you officially accept your spot in the program.  Refunds cannot be issued after the program fee is charged to your SSC account. 

In the case of withdrawal, Go Global Award funding must be returned in full.

If you have questions, please connect with your Go Global advisor or email Go Global at

Pre-departure policy

Safety abroad

UBC is committed to preparing students for safe and successful international experiences. In order to achieve this, any student participating in a Go Global Program must complete the following:

Failure to successfully complete these and any other requirements may result in withdrawal from the Go Global Program.


If you are considering applying for a Go Global program and identify with having a disability or pre-existing health condition (mental or physical) which could impact your participation, or if you require academic accommodations, you can contact the following offices and meet with an Accessibility Advisor before the start of the program:


You can contact Go Global by email, phone, in-person or virtually through Zoom.

Booking a virtual advising appointment

If you need to book an advising appointment, please email and provide an overview of the questions you have. Appointments will be held through Zoom or by phone.

Virtual drop-in advising is available on Tues, Dec 21 and Wed, Dec 22 from 1 to 3 pm PST through Zoom.

In-person drop-in advising hours

Go Global offers in-person drop-in advising at the UBC Life Building during the times below:

  • Tuesday: 1:00 - 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 1:00 - 3:00 pm

January Hours

Go Global will hold virtual reception hours on Tues, Jan 4 from 9:30 am to 11:30 am PST and 1 pm to 3:30 pm PST through Zoom.