FAQ - Overseas

FAQ : 

Am I eligible if my Russian is strong, but I never studied in Russia?

You have to complete at least 6 weeks of language study in Russia or a Russian-speaking country before the beginning of the program. Time spent in Russia as a tourist, being employed or volunteering, having an internship, or living with relatives does not count. Also, you cannot complete your study in Russia requirement during the summer when the overseas Capstone program begins. However, you may satisfy the requirement by going abroad for the fall or spring semester during your Capstone application year (i.e., if you are applying to the Russian Overseas Flagship Program 2017-18, you can study 6+ weeks in Russia in the fall of 2016 or spring of 2017, but not during the summer of 2017). If you are participating in a spring semester program in Russia/Russian-speaking country during your Capstone application year, you may be accepted, but your participation in the year-long Capstone program will be conditioned upon your successful completion of the spring semester program.

I grew up in a Russian-speaking family -- am I eligible to apply?

Yes, as long as you can demonstrate the necessary level of Russian proficiency and have previously studied in Russia or another Russian-speaking country for at least 6 weeks. American Councils recognizes the fact that heritage students often experience specific language acquisition issues. The 2012-2013 student group included five heritage speakers who followed a specially designed program that included small group classes with each other and separate lectures that addressed issues pertaining to heritage speakers only. Our faculty has also developed a special study manual for heritage speakers.

Do I need to attend a summer intensive program before going to Almaty?

No. Indeed, students are required to attend a study abroad program in a Russian-speaking country prior to the summer when the overseas Capstone program begins (i.e., if a student applies to the Russian Overseas Flagship Program 2017-18, he/she has to complete his/her study abroad before summer 2017).

Can I travel abroad while in Kazakhstan?

Students may travel outside of Kazakhstan during official program breaks (winter and spring vacations) only after receiving approval from American Councils. Students may travel within Kazakhstan on weekends with approval from American Councils.

When is the application deadline and how can I apply?

All applications for the 2017-2018 Capstone Program must be submitted online by January 10, 2017. Official physical or electronic transcripts for all institutions of higher education you have attended must be received by American Councils by January 10, 2017. Recommenders must submit their online reference forms by January 17, 2017.

Please remember that if you are applying for a Boren Scholarship or Fellowship, you will need to submit a separate application to the Institute of International Education (IIE). Please contact IIE directly for their requirements and deadlines at boren@iie.org.

Is there financial aid available?

The Language Flagship provides support for students enrolled in Domestic Flagship institutions to participate in the Overseas Flagship programs. Interested students should contact their Domestic Flagship program for additional information.

Other Student Support Options - Boren Scholarships (for undergraduate Flagship students),
Boren Fellowships (for at-large students). Interested students should contact IIE via email at boren@iie.org.

How much does the program cost?

The cost of the Overseas Program varies from year to year depending on the cost of academic, housing, and administrative services in Kazakhstan and the United States. The program cost is also periodically adjusted for the current value of U.S. dollar and inflation in the host country. The cost of the 2017-18 academic year program payable to American Councils is $22,591 for Domestic Program participants and a larger amount for at-large students (due to higher tuition cost for students who are not participants of the Domestic Flagship Programs). Interested at-large applicants should contact American Councils directly for more details (email: gbabankov@americancouncils.org). In addition, students are encouraged to budget about $2,660 for estimated living expenses not included in the official cost of attendance.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

No, there is no citizenship requirement to apply to the Overseas Program. However, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you may not be able to apply for government financial aid.

How do I assess my language skills before applying?

To apply to the Overseas Program, you need Russian proficiency equal to 2 or 2+ on the ILR scale. You can self-test your current Russian skills using the following links: http://www.govtilr.org/ and http://www-01.sil.org/lingualinks/LANGUAGELEARNING/OtherResources/ACTFLP...

How large is the Overseas Flagship group?

The average Russian Overseas Flagship cohort is 20 students. They are divided into smaller groups for the purpose of taking classes. Smaller class size provides each student a lot of the instructor’s attention while allowing the students to have meaningful conversations and learn from each other’s mistakes and successes.

Do I get academic credit for participating?

Yes. Students who successfully complete the Russian Overseas Flagship Program receive academic credits through their domestic institution via grade reports submitted by American Councils. At-large participants receive recognition of overseas Flagship course work through Bryn Mawr College, which will issue transcripts.

Can you tell me more about the Overseas Flagship academic curriculum?

The Flagship curriculum, carefully designed by American, Russian, and Kazakhstani specialists in Russian language teaching, includes several instructional components that supplement each other to provide a diverse, yet intensive language training to students. The curriculum components include:
Intensive courses focusing on discourse development, designed specifically for Overseas Flagship students;
Direct enrollment in a course in the area/s of the student’s specialization at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KAZNU);
Individualized tutorials;
Bi-weekly excursions guided by language instructors;
Internships with local organizations; and
Homestays with Russian-speaking Kazakhstani families experienced in hosting American students.

Do I have to be enrolled in a university prior to applying to the Overseas Program?

If you are an undergraduate student, you need to be enrolled in one of the Russian Flagship Domestic institutions prior to going overseas. If you have already earned a Bachelor’s Degree (or expect to earn it before going to Almaty), you do not need to be enrolled in a domestic college or university.

Can I study subjects other than Russian in Almaty?

Yes. In addition to Flagship courses, in the Fall semester you will be able to take one specialization course in your area of study or interest at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. The course will be completely in Russian, and you will take it alongside with Russian-speaking KazNU students.

May I participate in the Overseas Flagship Program if I never majored in Russian?

Yes, as long as you have already achieved Russian proficiency equal to 2 or 2+ on the ILR scale, and participated in a 6-week or longer language study program in Russia or another Russian-speaking country.

Can I be accepted to the Overseas Program if I did not participate in a Domestic Program?

Yes. In addition to the Russian Domestic Flagship students (i.e., participants of one of the four Russian Domestic Flagship programs), the Russian Overseas Flagship Program accepts a limited number of applicants who are not part of the Russian Domestic Flagship. These applicants are called "at-large." Besides possessing the required Russian language proficiency and study experience in Russia or another Russian-speaking country, the at-large applicants have to hold a Bachelor’s Degree prior to the beginning of the Overseas Flagship Program. Domestic students receive priority consideration during the selection process. The cost of the program is also different for Domestic and at-large applicants.

Is the Overseas Program right for me?

The Overseas Program is a nine-month-long full-immersion program conducted entirely in Russian in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Therefore, you need to have already achieved Russian proficiency equal to 2 or 2+ on the ILR scale to participate. You will be expected to achieve a Superior level of Russian (ILR Level 3) after the successful completion of the Overseas Program.

How is the Russian Overseas Flagship different from other language and study abroad programs?

The Russian Overseas Flagship is unique in several ways. First, unlike usual study abroad programs, the Russian Overseas Flagship Program focuses on language training in conjunction with classes in a variety of subjects. Second, the Russian Overseas Flagship Program provides a higher level of language instruction than most other language study programs, with Flagship students graduating at a near-native level of language proficiency. Third, the Russian Overseas Flagship Program employs a combination of the most efficient current teaching methods, including special (sheltered) language courses, enrollment in classes at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, individual instruction with tutors, excursions guided by language instructors, internships with local businesses and organizations, and homestays with Russian-speaking Kazakhstani families. As a result, the Flagship students graduate with a superior command of Russian and high proficiency in all aspects of the language, from informal conversation to specialized professional terminology. Finally, through complete immersion and carefully designed curriculum, Russian Overseas Flagship students gain an inside understanding of Russian and Kazakhstani culture, traditions and habits, and behavior of Russian and Kazakhstani people, which helps many Flagship alumni launch successful Russian and Eurasian-related careers.