Every summer, the Tahoe-Baikal Institute (TBI) leads an elite group of students and young professionals through unique ecosystems in Russia and America. Participants assist in hands-on research and restoration projects, gaining invaluable experience in how to work with state agencies, academic institutions, and NGOs to advance environmental initiatives. The group is kept small to ensure that group dynamics remain high, program resources are maximally used, and to ensure that each promising participant gains a maximum of experience and knowledge.
The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS) has partnered with TBI specifically for the Russia leg of their program. By combining our resources, this partnership will allow a few additional students to join the program for those activities focused on the Lake Baikal watershed within Russia.
Students will prepare with four weeks of intensive courses in Russian language and on the specific challenges facing Siberia as it transitions from a planned to a market economy. This knowledge will then be used in the second half of the experience, when students join the TBI exchange to research, explore, and improve the environment of the Lake Baikal region for the last four weeks of the program. Professions in the environmental sciences, including those in government, NGO, research, and academics, are increasingly international in nature. This experience is meant to help form the environmental professionals of tomorrow.
Summer:Cost: $6 595* Dates: June 23 – Aug 18, 2014 (Apply by Mar 1, 2014)
- Application Requirements -
In addition to SRAS's regular application procedures, applicants must also submit a completed TBI application as well as all documentation as described therein. All materials required by SRAS and TBI must be submitted by March 1, 2013. The personal/character recommendation and the academic/professional recommendation forms can be downloaded online. Applicants should have already completed one year of environmental sciences or related experience before applying. Applicants need not be currently enrolled in a university program. All applicants must be high school graduates. No prior knowledge of Russian required, but is preferred. All sessions are in English, whether spoken directly or through an interpreter. A telephone interview will be held to gauge the applicant’s expressiveness, desire to participate, professional and personal goals, experience, and ability to participate in a intensive academic program which held in “rustic” conditions. See below for more details on this program.
Frequently asked questions about our programs
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- Curriculum -
RS-100/200/300 Russian Language Study Courses offered at six different levels. For intermediate and advanced Russian speakers, a focus of the course will be on building vocabulary related to environmental issues. Students will be encouraged to implement these skills by volunteering as translators or language assistants during the exchange portion of the program (see below). Academic Hours: 80*
SS-312: Siberian Environmental History Siberia's environmental problems caused by the transition from a planned economy to a free market economy and what the government, businesses, and NGOs are doing about it. This course is taught in the first part of the program. Academic Hours: 28*
RS-312b: Culture Lab More Information Excursions, seminars, and other out-of-the-classroom experiences at locations of historical, cultural, environmental, or other interest. Also includes a brief seminar covering the major issues currently faced by Lake Baikal and the organizations working to resolve or alleviate those issues.
TBI Summer Environmental Exchange (Russian Portion)* The program's primary themes are watershed protection, sustainable development, and cultural exchange. The program will bring together approximately 15 young environmental leaders from North America, Russia, Mongolia, and other parts of the world, to study environmental science, policy and management. More information on the exchange can be viewed on the TBI site. Students joining the TBI exchange as part of this SRAS program will participate only in those activities occurring inside Russia.
*Prerequisites: 3.0 GPA in core classes. No previous knowledge of Russian necessary.
*About the Program: This is a relatively small program which focuses on maintaining an active group dynamic. SRAS will introduce you electronically to other students arriving on this program before your departure. Shortly after you arrive for your program, you will be placed for language lessons according to your language level, as determined by a short written or oral exam. Depending on your level, you may be placed in a group that is already formed, or with other newly arrived language students of the same level. During the first part of the program, intensive language courses and some cultural excursions, including to environmentally important locations will be held. During the second half of the course, you will join the Russian leg of the Tahoe-Baikal Institute program.
*About the SRAS-TBI Relationship: Participants joining through SRAS will pay only the fees listed on the SRAS site and will participate in only those activities occurring in Russia as listed on the TBI exchange site. Participants joining through SRAS are eligible for financial aid as offered by SRAS, but not eligible for financial aid as offered by TBI (and vice-versa).
*Academic Hours: An academic hour is 40 minutes. Totals listed are minimum hours for full-semester or summer-session courses. See our FAQ page and/or contact SRAS for more information.
*Credit Transfer and Transcripts: While this program is designed to be the equivalent of 15-18 credits, how many credits your home university may award depends entirely on your home university. SRAS recommends discussing this with your advisor and SRAS before you apply. Students planning on applying for credit transfer must read our FAQ page for more info.