Acquiring a mastery of the Russian language and examining the rich heritage of Russian literature and culture constitute the core of Russian studies at Grinnell College. At the same time, the department encourages students to broaden and deepen their understanding of the Russian experience by exploring other disciplines such as history, fine arts, philosophy, and the social sciences within the context of Russian culture. The Russian department frequently invites prominent cultural figures from Russia to participate in the senior seminar and interact with faculty and students, and organizes extensive extracurricular programming. Russian majors as a rule spend at least one semester abroad, and regularly work with native speakers on campus. In addition to the Russian major, students may pursue a concentration in Russian, Central and Eastern European Studies (RCEES), a program devoted to the interdisciplinary study of the languages, culture, and history of Russia and the former Soviet Union and the lands which are usually designated as Central and Eastern European. Russian majors and RCEES students at the college are a tightly knit group, and they regularly meet outside of class to practice their language, view films, sing popular Russian music, and attend our weekly Russian Table, cook Russian food, and many live in our Russian House. Their ties remain strong after graduation, and the department maintains various on-line networks to bring alumni together. Grinnell graduates in Russian and RCEES have a prominent place in the academic world of Slavic studies in the United States, and a number of them have worked or are currently working in the countries of the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe in a number of areas, including international business and law, the Foreign Service, international educational exchange, higher education, and informational technology. The department has extensive ties in the Russian cultural scene, and several graduates have gone on to work in Moscow theaters and other areas of the arts. Social commitment is another active area for Russian majors, and graduates have worked in a number of volunteer organizations in the region, including the Peace Corps.