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Slavic Studies

The Breakdown

Perhaps it began when you picked up a copy of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.  Or maybe you became fascinated after learning about the political fallout from the break-up of Yugoslavia.  Or maybe you just have an insatiable appetite for pierogis.  Whatever the reason, you’re eager and anxious to gain deeper insight into the Slavic peoples and cultures (and hence you’re a great candidate for this major).   

As a Slavic studies major, you’ll find that your coursework will be quite interdisciplinary.  Certainly, you’ll take classes in everything from religion and philosophy to political science, economics and literature.  You’ll explore topics as diverse as the expansion of the Soviet state, human rights issues in Bosnia and even Polish folk dancing.  The majority of programs also require their students to become proficient in a regional language, be it Russian, Polish, Czech, Ukrainian, Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian, etc.  Generally speaking, most classes will be reading and writing intensive.  Finally, a majority of Slavic studies majors spend some time studying abroad.  

Should you choose to major in Slavic studies, you’ll discover it’s important to be open to different cultures and ways of thinking.  You will also find it beneficial to have a good ear for languages and strong communication skills in general.  In addition, you should be great at analyzing and synthesizing information.  And you should enjoy indulging in the occasional bowl of borscht!

  

Nuts and Bolts

As a Slavic studies major, you’ll have the opportunity to explore a wide range of topics including: Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, Gender in Communist and Post-Communist Societies, Introduction to Eurasian History: From the Mongols to the Soviets, Elementary Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Modern Armenian, Introduction to Slavic Linguistics, Milan Kundera, Advanced Russian Through Media, The Soviet Visual Experience and Balkan Folklore.

Decisions, Decisions

Slavic studies majors are typically curious about other languages, cultures and the way they develop.  Therefore, not surprisingly, they might also be interested in studying religion/theology, philosophy, history, international relations, political science, economics, Asian studies, Latin American studies, American studies, African studies, classics, geography, anthropology and sociology.

What's Next

All right – we’ll admit it.  Slavic studies does not necessarily prepare you for any specific career track.  However, therein lies the beauty.  The skills you’ll both acquire and hone are applicable to a variety of fields and professional pursuits.  Indeed, if you do a little digging, you’ll find fellow majors in numerous industries.  To begin, it’s fairly common for graduates to become translators or interpreters.  Journalism is another popular route with majors often focusing on Eastern European stories/beats/bureaus.  Many graduates, in search of adventure, seek positions with non-profits and NGOs, working and volunteering in Eastern Europe.  International business is also a great path, with a handful of majors focusing on import/export.  Additionally, government jobs are widely held with students becoming everything from immigration and customs officials to foreign service officers, dignitaries and diplomats.  Still others might be found in such diverse fields as hospitality, consulting, social work and education.  Truly you can start with Slavic studies and (perhaps ironically) end up virtually anywhere!  

 

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