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.


Students and faculty often gather together to eat Russian cuisine, watch Russian movies and popular music videos, and sing 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.

Service Projects

In addition to their many visits to local schools, Russian Studies students and the Balalaika Ensemble have raised nearly $10,000 for charitable causes in Russia. They 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 their 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", or Ukrainian Easter eggs.

Visits to Local Schools

Russian Studies students often visit local schools 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.

Russian Banquets

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.