Panoramic view of Red square

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

RUSS 303 | 3 credits

About the program

About the course

This course is led by CENES faculty member Veta Chitnev

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.

About the experience

Moscow is home for important cultural, historical, spiritual, and architectural sites that play a fundamental role in constructing national identity.

A typical day might include:

A walk through the Tchaikovsky Conservatory to attend a noon-hour recital by one of the students, a chance to interact directly with Russian and international university students at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, experiencing Moscow's magnificently decoded subway system and even observe Russian people celebrating Russia day.  Three times a week you will participate in critical discussions mediated and/or lectures conducted by Veta Chitnev. Here's a sneak peek of the proposed itinerary: 

  • A 90-minute group seminar on the topic “Identity and religion” (location on campus)
  • ½ day site visit of The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
  • Time for readings or explore independently


  • Full day excursion to Sergiev Posad. You will visit the spiritual centre of Russia, The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, a center for the Slavophile movement and artistic activity in the 19th century, Abramtsevo and the Toy Museum.
  • Time for individual study

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

General Global Seminar requirements

  • You must have at least a 70% average in your most recent Winter Session of full-time studies prior to application
  • You need to be a UBC student in good standing (e.g., not be under academic or non-academic discipline) to participate in a Global Seminar
  • You should have full-time student status (as defined by your faculty) in the year prior to your Global Seminar
  • You must maintain 70% average prior to your Global Seminar departure
  • You must have completed or intend to complete the necessary (or equivalent) pre-requisite courses prior to Global Seminar start date
  • Unclassified students will be considered on a case-by-case basis
  • You will need to be accepted by the Program Director leading the Global Seminar

To be accepted for this Global Seminar, you have to meet ARA eligibility.

ARA Eligibility

  • Be enrolled in UBC Vancouver’s Faculty of Arts.
  • Be in their third, fourth, or final year of study.
  • Be enrolled in at least 24 credits in the academic year before the program
  • Must be registered in 24 credits in the current academic year, or sufficient to graduate
  • Have a minimum GPA of 70% with no fails or incompletes.

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. 

General timelines

The program will take place in (in Russia) in early June 2021. Prior to your time in the field, you will be required to choose a topic for your research and submit a research proposal.

Program dates May 11 to June 15, 2021.  

Schedule (Subject to Change):

Jun 3 


Arrival. Orientation. Welcome party

Jun 4 


A campus tour. Survival Russian language classes. Evening 3-hour 
Moscow night sightseeing bus tour "Moscow never sleeps".”

Jun 5


 The State Historical Museum. Red Square

 GUMTverskaya Street walking tour A walk through theTchaikovsky Conservatory

Jun 6


Lecture “Interpreting national history” The Kremlin Cathedrals The Kremlin Cathedrals and The Kremlin Armoury Museum. Evening: Ballet

Jun 7


Bus tour: Moscow city and former royal estate Kolomenskoye.

Jun 8


Lecture of Dr. Valikova O.A “Identity and religion.” The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and Novodevichy Convent

Jun 9


Free time. Volunteer students are available for walking tours.

Jun 10


Lecture “The Great Patriotic War. The narrative of power and suffering  The Museum of the Great Patriotic War.

Jun 11


Full day bus trip to Suzdal (the oldest Russian Golden Ring town)

Jun 12


Lecture “Russia’s folk culture. Fairytale as a construction and reflection of cultural values” The State Tretyakov Gallery.

Jun 13


Izmaylovo. The museum of bread  The Museum of Bread . Evening: The Pyatnitsky Russian Folk Chorus.

Jun 14


Full day bus trip to Sergiev Posad.  The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius (the spiritual centre of Russia). One of the most well-known centers center for the Slavophile movement and artistic activity in the 19th century AbramtsevoThe National Museum of Toys

Jun 15


Tolstoy House Museum in Khamovniki districtTolstoy House Museum in Khamovniki district. . Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure Gorky Central Park of Culture and LeisureMoscow's largest food market Depot.

Jun 16


Free time. Volunteer students are available for walking tours.Evening: Igor Moiseyev State Academic Ensemble of Folk Dance 

Jun 17



Application deadline

Monday, February 22, 2021

How to apply

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

You can apply for up to a maximum of 2 Global Seminars.

Students are encouraged to meet with the Program Director at an orientation session or one-on-one to learn more about the program.

Program fees and costs

All undergraduate students in the faculty of Arts will receive ARA funding, which covers 70%-100% of program expenses, including flight costs.

Total cost of the program is CAD $2500 to $2800 + tuition + flight. 

ARA funded students will pay CAD $750 to $840 + tuition + partial flight costs

The program fee includes accommodation, program-related travel, and excursions (once in Europe), and the Go Global fee.  Participants are responsible for tuition, flights, visas, meals and Incidentals. 

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 is built into the Program Fee and is payable after acceptance into the program.  Students will not be charged any fees until programs have been confirmed. 

UBC understands the value and impact, that international programs can have on a students’ academic experience. The university also acknowledges the unpredictable nature of planning international programs during a global pandemic.  To learn more about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Go Global Programs, please visit the Go Global student FAQ during COVID-19

ARA funding

This program is jointly funded by Arts Research Abroad (ARA)  and Go Global. ARA is a funding body made of the Faculty of Arts – Dean’s Office and anonymous donors  that supports Virtual Global Seminars.

This funding will offset 100% of the program fees for this Virtual Global Seminar.


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:

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:

  • All UBC Student Safety Abroad requirements
  • Go Global Program-specific pre-departure requirements (includes both online and in-person components)

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


Global Seminars Advisor

Student Advising

Drop in advising - Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00-3:00pm

Please email with your student number in the subject line.

Global Seminars Advisor

Telephone: 604 822 0942

Fax: 604 822 9885

UBC Life Building
6138 Student Union Blvd
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1


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