REEES awards a Certificate of Proficiency in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies to undergraduate students who combine study of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia with any other departmental major, from the humanities and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs to the sciences and engineering. For students interested in obtaining the certificate, REEES offers two tracks that cover two separate geographic areas:
No one whom I encountered during my military career had enjoyed better preparation for dealing with the Soviet and post-Soviet military/diplomatic establishments than I did. Of course, education continues long after passing through FitzRandolph Gate at graduation – indeed, it should never cease – but a substantial share of the credit for my academic foundation in these areas belongs to Princeton’s Slavic Languages Department and the Russian Studies Program. My career underscored a motto that the University has long espoused and to which I remain fully devoted: Princeton in the Nation’s service.
— Lawrence G. Kelley ‘68, Colonel USMC (Ret.)
The REEES certificate program is an awesome and exceptional experience. These courses will teach you that undergoing (pseudo)communism for seventy odd years is the most formidable societal roller coaster that a people has ever ridden. You cannot even begin to imagine the pain, the ecstasy, the longing and boredom Eurasians have lived through. These courses will teach you cold facts about them, but it will also rock you with warm emotions - this program is an exercise in empathy as well as a rigorous course of study.
As far as the minutiæ is concerned, the program is exceptional in that its small size makes it particularly accommodating and welcoming. REEES unites an inspiring team of kind and accessible faculty and hosts frequent expert panels on all kinds of topics from Socialist Romanticism to the latest news on Ukraine.The language component, film screenings, corridor discussions and study abroad opportunities will make sure that by the end of your time here you can recite Mickiewicz and comment on the Mongolian gold rush. Following this track may seem like an arduous hike, but it is a tremendously rewarding one. Hop on the REEES bandwagon if you love knots and twists, shivers and tears, if you despise hypocrites and smiles, or if you have a nagging feeling that there is more to the region than bears and balalaikas.
— Harold Sacau ’14 - a grateful student
Two things are exciting about Russian, East European and Eurasian (REEES) studies right now: the past and the present. The region’s dynamic past has been illuminated in the last two decades as many of the Soviet restrictions on access to documents, other materials and places have fallen away. Much of what we thought we knew about the region is up for revision — in literature, in history and in other fields. But the region’s present is also exciting because it has been undergoing a massive political, economic and cultural transformation. In a way that was never quite possible before, it is relatively easy to travel wherever one would like to in the region; it’s a fascinating part of the world at a crucial point in history. The REEES certificate has two separate tracks — one that focuses on Russia and Eurasia and one that focuses on East European cultures and societies — that give students a synoptic view of the history, culture and society of the regions at various points in time and from multiple perspectives and provides training in the languages of the region.
“Russia and the former Soviet Union went from being the object of my curiosity and subject of a couple survey courses to my home, my workplace and — ultimately — the focus of my life’s work. Mixing amazing opportunities in Princeton, St. Petersburg and beyond, REEES gave me the language skills and cultural exposure without which studying another society is simply impossible.”
— Nicholas Levy ’07, doctoral candidate, Department of History, Stanford University
The Russian and Eurasian studies certificate dovetailed superbly well with my work in the Slavic Languages and Literatures Department - I was able to pursue courses that were focused on the history, politics, and culture of this region alongside my forays into the Russian literary canon. In addition, I was able to put the skills I honed to work during a summer internship at the US Embassy in Moscow after my junior year. I am confident that the interdisciplinary and comprehensive scope of my RES certificate will help me in whatever career path I choose after leaving the Orange Bubble. After all, given the current global geopolitical climate, advanced students of Russia and Eurasia are becoming all the more vital - as they well should.
— Linnea Paseiro’14.