The nature of an intensive summer program is to provide a welcoming environment in which the students can learn both inside and outside the classroom at the same time they enjoy the atmosphere of a summer camp. The UW-Madison campus, which stretches along the shore of Lake Mendota, is lush and beautiful in the summer, while the city of Madison, the state capital, with its downtown situated picuresquely between two large lakes and bordering on the campus, is alive with outdoor activities.
The residential component of the Pushkin Summer Institute reinforces the work students do in class through nightly tutorial sessions, essay brainstorming sessions, and a modified language pledge. Students vow to speak Russian whenever possible, but must use Russian during meals, group travel, and the tutorial sessions. The tutorial sessions are led by our residential counselors and a part-time student mentor, all of whom are current UW-Madison Russian majors. The residential counselors not only reinforce the material covered in the classroom through the tutorials, language games, and showing of movies, but also help the students adjust to the increased personal responsibilities of life in the dormitories. Students are housed in Leopold Hall, a new and well-equipped dorm located in the Lakeshore neighborhood, next to the UW Gymnasium-Natatorium, some 10 minutes via pleasant walking paths from classes in Van Hise.
Lastly, the extracurricular component of the Pushkin Summer Institute endeavors to introduce students to the larger UW-Madison and Madison community. Students participate in events with other summer precollege programs at UW-Madison, such as a trip to a local water park and a talent show. Pushkin students also go to local sites like the Wisconsin State Capitol, the Vilas Zoo, and the “Shake the Lake” fireworks show. On campus, a variety of Russian-related talks, workshops, and events occur every summer. These types of activities not only advertise UW-Madison as an attractive place to go to college, but broaden the field of Russian studies and create contacts between the various precollege programs on campus during the summer.