Russian Studies students enjoy camaraderie both in and outside of the classroom. There are many opportunities for fun co-curricular activities in Russian Studies. Public lectures and cultural events on campus allow plenty of opportunity for students to experience Russian culture (and even meet the visiting guest artists and speakers). In recent years Luther has hosted the St. Petersburg Ballet on ice; the Don Cossacks; Trio Voronezh; and the Russian Ambassador to the United States.
Russian Studies students enjoy camaraderie both in and outside of the classroom. Students and faculty gather together for banquets of Russian cuisine, watching Russian movies and videos of popular music, singing folk and popular songs. Students and faculty have traveled to the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota) to view Russian art exhibitions at The Museum of Russian Art, the Weisman Art Museum (at the University of Minnesota) and to enjoy a meal at Moscow on the Hill.
In addition to our many visits to local schools, Russian Studies students and the Balalaika Ensemble have raised nearly $10,000 for charitable causes in Russia. We also have gathered warm coats and sweaters to deliver to pensioners and refugees at the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy Food Sharing Ministry, and have served in the Moscow soup kitchens during our January Term Abroad courses. Some students have tutored conversational English to Russian-speaking immigrants in the Decorah community. Other students have shown school children how to make "pysanki" (Ukrainian Easter eggs).
Russian Studies students often visit local schools (elementary schools, middle schools, high schools) in order to share their knowledge of Russian language, culture and music. Russian Studies students have visited every school in the Decorah area, as well as schools elsewhere in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Laika was the first space dog.
Russian students enjoy Russian banquets in which they can learn to prepare traditional Russian dishes, such as "shchi" (cabbage soup), "borshch" (beet soup), "pirog s kapustoj" (cabbage pie), "pirog s gribami" (mushroom pie), "salat stolichnyj" ("Capital" potato salad"), and "salat iz svezhikh ogurtsov" (cucumber salad). After the banquet, students enjoy singing Russian folk songs with accompaniment of guitar, balalaika, accordion and percussion.