Screenreader Navigation - [ Skip to Content | Skip to Main Navigation ]
[FSU Seal Image] - Return to Home
Florida State University - Return to Home

Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics / Programs / Slavic Program (Russian) / 10 Reasons to study Russian

Top 10 Reasons to study Russian

Top 10 Reasons to Study Russian:


1.         The US Government needs more Russian-language specialists: Federal agencies have identified Russian as a priority language of national need. Among the agencies that seek expertise in Russian: the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Human Development, Department of Labor, and Department of the Interior. The FCC, ITC, FBI, CIA, NSA and State Department have also identified Russian as a priority language. These agencies are hiring, and need your Russian-language skills!


2.         Russia is a regional power and is returning as a world power: Russia has associations with the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, such as a customs union and collective security treaty organization. Key Russian politicians are proposing a "Eurasian Union" embracing these states,strategically encompassing the economic and security spheres. This prospectively boosts Russian economic, foreign policy and military influence in the region. Russia also defends its traditional influences in the non-aligned and developing world and continues to prioritize the modernization of defense. NASA depends on the Russian Space Agency to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. Finally, Russia's resource-based economy has emerged from the global crisis relatively unscathed. Energy industry analysts suggest that up to 50% of Europe's natural gas could be controlled by Russia by2030.


3.        Speak Russian to engage in the Russian economy: Russia is one of the largest producers,if not the largest producer, of numerous natural resources and raw materials including petroleum, diamonds, gold, copper, manganese, uranium, silver,graphite, and platinum. Russia is the second largest steel producer in the world after Japan, and has an enormous timber reserve. It is the world’s largest producer of natural gas, third largest producer of oil and fourth largest in terms of the mining of coal. Russia has an estimated 40% of the world total reserves of natural gas. Russia’s proven oil reserves are second only to Saudi Arabia’s, and it is the top oil producer in the world. Russia is an enormous market for US goods and services. With Russian language skills, you can work with American businesses participating in this successful market.Florida and Russia are doing business too: two-way trade between Florida and Russia was more than $986 million in 2007. And Russia ranks among the top ten countries in the world for entrepreneurship.


4.         Russian is an important language for science and technology. According to a recent study, the number of publications in the sciences is highest for English, with Russian second. This is the case for chemistry, physics, geology, mathematics, and biological sciences. Russia always has had a rich tradition in the sciences, from Mendeleev to recent Fields medalists in mathematics. The Soviet tradition of creating scientific towns and scholarly communities is giving way to a system of entrepreneurship backed by state agencies and private-sector start-ups.Innovations in computer programming, software engineering, and information technology are coming out of Russian government agencies and private firms.


5.         Russian is spoken by hundreds of millions of people:  The Russian Federation spans nine time zones and covers about 1/8th of the world’s land surface. It is the largest country in the world, almost twice the size of the United States.Russia has a population of almost 150 million people, which constitutes slightly more than 50% of the population of the former Soviet Union. There are around 270 million Russian speakers in the world. 


6.        Learn about one of the world’s most fascinating cultures:  Russia is home to some of the world’s finest traditions in the arts. Ballet, theater, cinema, literature,music, and visual arts are only a few of the areas in which Russians have established great traditions and continue to produce remarkable innovators.From George Balanchine to Mikhail Baryshnikov, Sergei Eisenstein to Andrei Tarkovsky, Anton Chekhov to Constantine Stanislavsky, Fyodor Dostoevsky to Vladimir Sorokin, Shostakovich to Khvorostovsky… Russians produce great art!And did you know that knowing Russian helps you to see the world differently? Russian speakers, who have more words for light and dark blues, are better able to visually discriminate shades of blue.


7.        Russian combines well with many other disciplines: business and Russian, science and Russian, political science or history and Russian, English and Russian,another foreign language and Russian, engineering and Russian, mathematics and Russian, music and Russian. Russian provides you with opportunities your non-Russian studying classmates don’t have. For instance, a student majoring in biology and Russian can go to Russia on study abroad and work with Russian biologists in a laboratory in Russia, get a fellowship to study fresh water ecology in Lake Baikal and Lake Tahoe, and then go on to medical school.


8.        Studying Russian helps you enter post-graduate programs: Students who study Russian have a high rate of acceptance for graduate study in law school, business school,medical school, and other professional programs.


9.        Students of Russian go on to great careers. Former students of Russian are now working or have worked:  as engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, at banks operating in international markets, in the Peace Corps, in major accounting firms (in Russia and in the US), in large and small law firms, in press offices in Russia, Europe and America, in the State Department and Commerce Department of the federal government, teaching English in Russian high schools, for non-profit agencies such as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the National Foreign Language Center, or the US-Russia Business Council. Some former Russian students have worked for the American Council of Teachers of Russian and the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) both in the US and in Russia.


10.        FSU's Russian Program is a proven success. Students in our program have received internships with the US State Department in Moscow, Fulbright Awards, the Pickering Undergraduate Fellowship in Foreign Affairs, and jobs with the Department of Defense, Defense Language Institute, and US State Department. They have conducted research in Moscow libraries and archives for honors theses, served with the Peace Corps, become finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship, and entered graduate programs at prestigious universities(Georgetown, Harvard, Indiana University, Rutgers, University of Toronto, among others). Take Russian at FSU and be our next success story!


To learn more about our program, read about the undergraduate and graduate programs on our website, read our faculty profiles,and contact Prof. Robert Romanchuk (for undergraduate advising) or Prof. Lisa Ryoko Wakamiya (for graduate advising).



Thanks to Ben Rifkin of The College of New Jersey for his list, upon which the present one is based.