St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg Fact Sheet

The St Petersburg, Russia program is now closed.
DATES: June 18 - July 12, 2020

PROGRAM COST: $4,495 + airfare (Includes: Tuition – 3 credits, housing, instruction, health insurance, farewell dinner and special programs, activities and cultural events).

GENERAL LOCATION: St. Petersburg, Russia

FOCUS: Comparative media, photojournalism

COOPERATING UNIVERSITY: St. Petersburg State University of Economics (UNECON)

QUESTIONS? Contact Program Director Renee Huhs at:

St. Petersburg Project

The St. Petersburg, Russia program is now closed.

St. Petersburg is Russia’s “Gateway to Europe” as well as a cultural and educational hub. It draws around 7 million tourists each year, and due to its tourism infrastructure, plays host to many large international events. In late June, Midsummer Night festivities bring the masses out to the streets for events and strolling until very late at night. St. Petersburg is also Russia’s more liberal city, a city of students, artists, subcultures, and more. It is a fascinating environment in which to look closely at the opportunities and challenges facing global media.

An understanding of any environment in which you may seek to work is critical and this program will illustrate that in many ways. You will have ample opportunity to learn about the history and culture of Russia and how this affects society and the media environment there today. We will take a comparative approach, noting similarities and differences. Our timing could not be better. The American Presidential campaign season will be well underway when our course begins. Watching coverage on the internet from home versus Russian coverage will provide us with a fascinating case study. As we find when comparing networks in the US (say Fox News vs. MSNBC), there can be differing points of view, influenced by factors we will study.

Photojournalism Module

We capture our comparative study through photojournalism. Over the course of three weeks you should be constantly observing the world around you, looking for stories that can be captured in a single still image. On some assignments you will photograph with as neutral a point of view as possible. Some very similar assignments you will be assigned to photograph with a point of view…a bias. Lens choice, lighting, framing, camera position, and a decisive moment will all play in the way your photo is interpreted.

Previous experience in photography and photojournalism is not required. However, you will be required to bring with you a digital camera or smartphone and a laptop with basic photo editing capabilities. We will provide instruction/coaching in both.

Academic Credit

Students will sign up for the following three-credit course:
Comparative Media Studies: Photojournalism
In this course we will take a comparative look at media today by addressing agenda (state, corporate, civic), the instruments (mainstream media, local media, social media), and monetization (how can media remain independent). The opportunities and challenges facing media in and outside of Russia are similar, and we will consider them while simultaneously looking closely at media literacy, media environment, and global trends.

The Hermitage is perhaps the most famous of Russia’s museums, and can take days to explore.

The City

Best known for its cultural tradition and gorgeous imperial palace facades, an intriguing and creative spirit is still alive in St. Petersburg today. Like the countless bridges linking it together, the city itself connects the past to present and high culture to everyday society. St. Petersburg is often referred to as Russia’s “second capital” with considerable economic and political activity but it is the cultural activity that is most visible. The well-developed tourism industry means the city is the top destination for Russian and international visitors alike and attracts international sport, cultural, and other events. The city has a European feel and very well suited to walking and exploration.

The University

Students will live and learn at St. Petersburg State University of Economics (UNECON), a campus right in the very heart of St. Petersburg. The many cultural and historical sites of the city surround you, all easily within walking distance. ieiMedia students will have the opportunity to mingle with Russian and international students.

Travel Opportunities

A 3-day trip to Moscow is included in this program. Due to visa limitations (duration) those looking to travel more extensively within Russia after the program should contact us early.


The program is open to English-speaking college students and recent graduates from any university. Over the past decade, participants in ieiMedia programs have included more than 800 students from 80 U.S. and Canadian campuses, along with students from Japan, Peru, Singapore, Thailand, Trinidad, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Most of our students are journalism or communications majors, but those majoring in other subjects are welcome as well. For non-journalism or communication majors, experience working for a college or professional publication is helpful but not necessary.

The program is open to graduate students. We’d be happy to confer about supervising an independent project that would qualify for graduate credit at your school — or to offer this experience as a graduate internship.


(Subject to enrollments/budget)

Renee (Stillings) Huhs is founder and director of SRAS, an organization that has developed and promoted academic study abroad in the post-Soviet space for over 20 years. She speaks Russian fluently and lived for several years in Moscow. SRAS works with top educational institutions and other service providers in Russia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Central/Eastern Europe to create innovative educational experiences and is partnering with ieiMedia to open this world to students interested in journalism and media.


Kirill Artemenko is the founder of the company Paper Media and the editor-in-chief of the online newspaper He worked as a reporter of the news website He also cooperated with Spiegel Magazine and participated in several international workshops dedicated to new digital media. His research interest focus is on new media, politics, and media business in Russia. Kirill also leads a practical course at Saint-Petersburg State University for the Global Communication and International Journalism Master’s Program. Kirill received his Bachelor of Journalism (St. Petersburg State University) and Master of Technological Entrepreneurship (ITMO University).

Bob Reeder as taught photojournalism as well as mentored graduate photojournalism students at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, DC. Prior to that he lived and worked in Amman, Jordan and in Chisinau, Moldova, photographing political struggles in the former Soviet state while also teaching at the Independent Journalism Center.

Additional faculty will be announced soon.

View complete faculty biographies on our St. Petersburg Faculty Page.

Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow has a fascinating history.


Students will live in modern dorms on UNECON’S campus, in the very center of St. Petersburg. Students typically live in double rooms. Each bedroom contains a bed, desk, chair and wardrobe. Depending on dorm placement, toilet/shower may be en suite, or shared per floor. A kitchen and laundry are available on each floor. There are many options for inexpensive cafes nearby.


Students are expected to bring a laptop computer and digital camera, cell phone or other device that can record audio and video.

Program Cost

$4,495 + airfare (Includes: Tuition – 3 credits, housing, instruction, health insurance, farewell dinner and special programs, activities and cultural events).

Financial Aid

Students studying abroad for the summer term have limited financial aid options, but Pell grant recipients are encouraged to apply for a Gilman Study Abroad Scholarship, which range from $2,500 to $5,000 for summer programs. A number of ieiMedia students have received these grants. Check with your school’s financial aid office and your study abroad offices to find out if other assistance is available. More information on financial aid is available here.

Apply now to reserve your place in the St. Petersburg, Russia program. Or, contact Program Director Renee Huhs ( Students must fill out the online application and include contact information for two references using the “Apply Now” link. A $50 application fee is required with the application but will be applied in full to your program fees or refunded if you are not accepted into the program. Application deadline: March 15, 2020.

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