Russian Language Undergraduate Studies

Russian Language Undergraduate Studies (RLUS) is a non-profit making educational charity which arranges year-abroad language courses for students at UK universities who are studying the Russian language. RLUS consists of a Committee, made up of members of staff of the various UK Universities which send students on RLUS courses; an Operations Consultant, who organises the courses from the UK in collaboration with the course providers abroad; a Chair; and a Finance, Administration and Compliance (‘FAC’) Officer.

RLUS courses in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia

In the past, RLUS courses took place in universities and language schools in Russia. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, and the sanctions against Russia which followed, made this impossible. Students who were in Russia at the time of the invasion were quickly brought back to the UK. We then had to find new Russian language courses in countries where there was a large Russian population, where Russian was widely spoken, which were not bound by any sanctions, and which played no part in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Rob Jensky, an American citizen whose company, Language Link, had run our courses in Moscow for almost a decade, relocated to Tallinn, in Estonia, and suggested we set up courses there; as a former Soviet republic, Tallinn has a large ethnic Russian population and Russian is, in effect, the second language. Since RLUS had been very happy with the courses Rob had run in Moscow, we agreed. To begin with, we organised two 3-week summer schools in Tallinn for students whose Year Abroad had been brought to a sudden end by the invasion of Ukraine. The courses proved popular and successful. The students pronounced Tallinn a ‘very civilised city’ in which they felt comfortable and safe, and they also found plenty of people with whom to practice their Russian. Following the success of the summer schools, we offered a range of courses in Tallinn for the academic year 2022-23: a 13-week course and a 16-week course in semester 1, a 13-week course and an 18-week course in semester 2, plus a 34-week course which spanned both semesters (the reason why we do not offer an 18-week course in semester 1 is that students invariably want to come home for Christmas).

We also offered courses of the same lengths in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Rob Jensky has a colleague in Astana, Altynshash Utaleyeva, with whom he has worked very closely in the past on Russian language courses. While Rob is the key organiser and administrator of the Kazakh courses, Altynshash organises the teaching staff, teaching rooms and accommodation for those students who want to live with Russian-speaking Kazakh families.

About the courses

The courses in Tallinn and Astana follow the same syllabus format that had proved so successful in Moscow.

  • Grammar (4 academic hours per week)
  • Translation (4 academic hours per week)
  • Reading, Vocabulary, Phonetics OR Literature (4 academic hours per week)
  • Conversational practice (4 academic hours per week)
  • Essay writing (2 academic hours per week)

  • Please note a n ‘academic hour’ is actually 45 minutes ! This is how it is in Russian universities and we have stuck with it.
  • Please note that Literature is not taught as it is in your UK university. It might be better described as ‘analytical reading’ – i.e. analysis of literary language
  • Please also note that although students are divided into different groups according to the level of their Russian, there may still be some small differences in ability; accordingly, the syllabus might occasionally be adjusted to meet the overall needs of the class. However, all of the teachers strive to meet the language course fulfillment requirements.


RLUS is extremely concerned about student safety and support, and so has always endeavoured to visit each cohort of students studying on its courses. The Covid travel restrictions brought these visits to a temporary halt, but they have now resumed, undertaken either by the RLUS Operations Consultant, Dr. Lynne Attwood, or a member of the RLUS Committee.

About this website

You will find on this website general information about Tallinn and Astana; course dates and course fees for the 2024-25 academic year ; important information which you must read when applying for a course – Booking Form Notes, RLUS Terms and Conditions and Statement of Information – and the Booking form itself.