US: Russia(n) is back

At the College of Holy Cross this year, language instructors had to scramble to set up a second section of introductory Russian - for the first time since the Cold War - writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. Not only are more students enrolling, but different kinds of students. "Our core has always been those with a love of the literature and we are still getting them, but now we are getting students with all sorts of other interaction with Russian culture," said Amy Adams, associate professor of Russian.

She has Reserve Officers' Training Corps students who want careers in intelligence. She had parents of one student tell her recently that their daughter wants to be a sports lawyer and hopes to deal with Russian hockey players. She has a group of seniors who want to go into the business world in Moscow after they graduate. She has some 'heritage speakers' who are from immigrant families and grew up speaking the language, but never learned to read and write it. "Students view Moscow as glittering and exciting, and they want to be there as young people," Adams told Inside Higher Ed.

Russian programmes at colleges around the country are reporting gains. The increases are particularly welcome to those teaching Russian, given the vulnerability during a recession of programmes that don't have meaningful enrolments. And the increase could yield a much larger cohort of potential experts to study language, culture, history, politics and society of an obviously important country.
Full report on the Inside Higher Ed site