Russian students partake in cultural activities and language learning in their classes.
Russian students partake in cultural activities and language learning in their classes.

Why learn Russian? 

  • Enhance national security: Russia is a significant global power with a large military. Understanding Russian language and culture can help ROTC students gain insights into the country’s military strategy, making them better equipped to defend the nation’s interests.
  • Increase career opportunities: Learning Russian can open doors to a wide range of career opportunities within the military, intelligence community, and government agencies. Russian language skills are highly valued in positions that require intelligence analysis, diplomatic relations, or military operations.
  • Support international partnerships: Russia is a vital player in many global issues, including nuclear proliferation, regional conflicts, and counterterrorism. Being able to communicate effectively with Russian military and government officials can help build stronger international partnerships and promote global stability.
  • Broaden cultural understanding: Learning Russian can provide ROTC students with a deeper appreciation of Russian culture, history, and literature. This understanding can help them better relate to Russian soldiers and civilians they may encounter during their military service.
  • Enhance personal development: Learning a new language like Russian can enhance cognitive skills such as memory, attention, and problem-solving. It can also foster personal growth, broaden perspectives, and increase cultural awareness. These skills can be valuable both personally and professionally.

One of four Russian Flagship Programs in the country, UW-Madison offers first and second year Russian over the course of 8 weeks. Classes meet Monday through Friday, 8:50 am-10:45 am and 12:05 pm-2:10 pm. This is an intensive Russian language program — expect to study and learn more Russian than you thought you were capable of.  Various other activities and cultural events are scheduled throughout the summer, including weekly office hours with instructors, small group discussions, conversation tables, meetings with Russian language tutors, and bi-weekly culture sessions geared towards increasing ROTC students’ intercultural mindset and developing valuable global leadership skills.

There are no language prerequisites for Year 1 Russian. Year 2 Russian students should have 2 semesters of language study or the equivalent. Students with prior experience in Russian will be required to take an oral proficiency interview.

Both levels of Russian are intensive and worth 8 college credits, covering two semesters of language study in one summer and focusing on speaking, listening, reading, and writing. By the end of the course, students should be proficient enough at speaking, listening, and reading to achieve ILR 1 or ILR 1+ depending on retention and prior language experience.

UW-Madison is one of a handful of national institutions to host the Russian Flagship Program. Students can expect exceptional instruction and support, with the expectation they will dedicate serious time and effort towards the intensive language program. Outside of language study, summer in Madison is not to be missed! From spending Saturday mornings at the Dane County Farmer’s Market—the nation’s largest—to watching a sunset on UW-Madison’s iconic Terrace while enjoying world-famous Babcock ice cream. Take in live music on the lawn of the Wisconsin state capitol building during concerts on the square, or enjoy lakeside running and the city’s many bike paths, which have earned Madison accolades as one of the best cities for cycling. All of these activities and more provide exciting and unique contexts for practicing as you hone your language skills.

UW-Madison hosts one of four Russian Flagship Programs in the US, so expect the language course to be intensive. For more information about the Russian Flagship Program at UW-Madison, click here.

Project GO at UW-Madison pays for: Tuition, course materials, travel to/from Madison, and room and board for all Project GO students. Please note that the room and board support is not intended to be comprehensive of all living costs a program participant may incur. The scholarship provides a meal stipend and single room occupancy in the UW-Madison residence halls. Any purchases a student wants to make outside of this will be the responsibility of the student’s.

The following costs will not be included in Project GO Funding: personal spending money, personal travel, costs for obtaining a passport, medication, and expenses for dependents.

Be sure to apply through the National Project GO website by February 27, 2024, to be considered for Project GO funding.

The deadline for the application has now passed.

Students interested in this program must complete the Project GO common application and select the UW-Madison Russian language offering and anticipated language level (Year 1 or 2). There is no additional application. Once awarded, students will be given directions on how to enroll as UW-Madison Special Students in order to access the desired summer Russian language course.

For more information, please contact Project GO at UW-Madison staff at or at 608-263-3724.