Russian Flagship Program

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Information for Parents

What is The Language Flagship?

The Language Flagship, an initiative of the National Security Education Program of the U.S. Department of Defense, is a national initiative to change the way Americans learn languages through a groundbreaking approach to language education for students from kindergarten through college. In Language Flagship programs at U.S. universities, college undergraduates are given the opportunity to achieve superior level language ability in a critical language such as Russian while pursuing another major. Language Flagship students receive rigorous training domestically and overseas to maximize their language learning experience so that they are prepared on graduation to use their Russian language skills and intercultural competencies in their chosen profession.

How is The Language Flagship different from other university language programs?

Bold, intensive, adventurous, useful - these are some of the words our graduates have used to describe The Language Flagship.

Language Flagship Programs offer:

  • Intensive language and culture instruction, including group and individual tutoring, in the U.S. and overseas
  • Extensive co-curricular learning opportunities to support language and culture learning
  • Individualized learning plans based on regular assessments of students' developing language abilities
  • Advanced language courses and long-term overseas immersion
  • Professional overseas internships for advanced-level students 
  • Professional-level language proficiency alongside the student's chosen major 
  • Scholarships to defray the cost of intensive summer and overseas study

The length of time that it takes students to complete the program depends on their background and preparation, as well as their commitment to the program. Motivated and hard-working students with no prior knowledge of Russian can complete the program in 4-5 years.

What is a critical language?

The U.S. Government has designated all Flagship-supported languages as “critical languages” because the national need, from the perspective of both national security and economic competitiveness, for highly proficient speakers in those languages exceeds the number of bilingual speakers available. 

What kind of jobs require foreign language skills?

In the private sector, senior executives have identified the lack of language skills as an enormous barrier to increasing American participation in overseas markets and have recognized language acquisition and cultural competence as critical assets for businesses. In the government sector, over 80 federal agencies rely on professionals with intermediate- to professional-level competence in foreign languages.