Reasons to study Russian

Three Students In Front Of A Building In Russia

Russia is the world’s largest country, and learning Russian will allow you to communicate with more than 270 million people worldwide. 

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. And studying these masters will enrich the way you view your own culture, as well.

Russian is also important for science and technology. After English, it is the second most important world language for research publications in chemistry, physics, geology, mathematics, and the biological sciences.

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 it 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 mining coal. Russia has an estimated 40% of the total world reserves of natural gas, and its proven oil reserves are second only to Saudi Arabia’s. Russia is an enormous market for U.S. goods and services. With Russian language skills, you can work with American businesses participating in this successful market.

“Studying Russian really helped me with my analytical skills and attention to detail. Russian is not for the faint of heart, and it also taught me to stay the course when I put my mind to something (and that has translated into numerous work scenarios throughout my career so far).”

—Magdalena Karol ’08

What can I do with a Russian major?

Russian provides you with opportunities your non-Russian studying classmates don’t have. The study of Russian equips you with the tools necessary to tackle challenges and thrive in unexpected situations. Whatever your goals post-graduation may be, studying Russian can help you achieve them.

Considering a career in government or diplomacy? The U.S. government needs more Russia specialists, and federal agencies have identified Russian as a priority language of national need. The agencies that seek expertise in Russian include 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.

Notre Dame Russian students have a high rate of acceptance to graduate schools and professional programs, have received Fulbright awards and internships with the U.S. State Department in Moscow and the FBI in Washington, D.C., served with the Peace Corps, and worked for international banks, accounting firms, and law firms. 

Take Russian at Notre Dame and be our next success story!

“I've worked for many years with international students and so my ability to communicate with those from different backgrounds, to intuit and draw out cultural differences has been very valuable. Thinking through how to articulate and convey information in the best way possible has been equally useful in all of my roles, especially those where I've worked with many different stakeholders. I applied for and was invited to join the U.S. Foreign Service, and my general knowledge of other cultures, languages, and international relations was important for that process.”

—Jackie Sheridan ’09