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History & Anthropology

Faculty-Directed Study Abroad Programs


Guided Tour of Russia and Poland with Professor Thomas Pearson
Warsaw-Moscow-Vladimir-Suzdal-Bogolyubovo-St. Petersburg
June 26 – July 10, 2020

Photo of Russian countryside

June 26: Flight from New York (JFK) to Warsaw, Poland

June 27: Arrival in Warsaw, Poland; check-in to superior room accommodations with breakfast at the Sofitel Victoria Hotel. The Sofitel Victoria Hotel is located near the old town of Warsaw which is a UNESCO Heritage site. Begin the city tour of Warsaw.

June 28: Full day of touring Warsaw with an evening Chopin concert

  • Visits to the old town of Warsaw, Lazienki Park, Wilanow Palace, and other major sites of Warsaw

June 29: Fly to Moscow—meet Marina, our Russian national guide; check into the Hotel Pekin (located approximately one mile from Red Square and the Kremlin)

  • Following arrival and check-in visit evening city sites in Moscow

June 30-July 1: Bus excursion to Vladimir (lunch included), Bogolyubovo, and Suzdal, Russia (dinner and lunch included); Check in at the Nikolaevskii Posad Hotel in Suzdal

  • Vladimir, Bogolyubovo, and Suzdal were the centers of power in Northeastern Russia during the Tatar Yoke and prior to the rise of Moscow
  • Tour the 13th-14th-century historical monuments, churches, and museums of Vladimir, Bogolyubovo, and Suzdal—Suzdal is a rustic, open air museum of 12th-14th-century church architecture and art and a UNESCO heritage site
  • Return to Moscow and the Hotel Pekin on the afternoon of July 1

Photo of historic buildings in Moscow's Red SquareJuly 2-5: Moscow

  • Accommodations at Hotel Pekin (downtown Moscow) with full breakfast each day
  • Moscow city tour including the Novodevichy cemetery, Red Square, the Arbat, and Bunker 42 (Cold War bunker built for Stalin)
  • Tour of the Moscow Kremlin including the State Armoury Museum
  • Tour of the Tretyakov Gallery of Russian Art (premier gallery for Russian art of the pre-20th century)
  • Free day for group members to explore Moscow and its attractions—Marina and I will make recommendations of places to visit or shop that suit the interests of individual travelers
  • Afternoon train from Moscow to St. Petersburg on July 5 and check into the Hotel Ambassador in St. Petersburg

Photo of the city of St. Petersburg in RussiaJuly 5-10: St. Petersburg

  •  Accommodations at the Hotel Ambassador for five nights with full breakfast each day
  •  City tour of St. Petersburg including the Bronze Horseman, the Fortress and Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul (burial site of the Russian emperors and empresses)
  • Visit to the Hermitage Museum in the Winter Palace—all day; the Hermitage is one of the 2-3 most famous art museums in the world
  • Visit to the Petrodvorets Summer Palace and gardens and fountains (Peter the Great’s “Versailles”)
  • Free day in St. Petersburg for shopping, additional sightseeing, and other options including strolling Nevskii Prospekt and city canals during the White Nights or taking river and canal boat tours (weather dependent)
  • Evening entertainment options TBD (dependent on travelers’ wishes and ticket availability)
  • Fly from St. Petersburg to NYC/JFK via Helsinki and Warsaw on July 10
  • My previous groups have stayed in all of the hotels listed above except the Sofitel Victoria in Warsaw, which is rated a 5-star hotel. The groups have all had a good experience with the hotels in Russia.
  • Meals (lunch, dinner)—we have found that having each traveler pay for lunch and dinner works well, as appetites vary, food choices and prices are very diverse, and for this tour food costs should be quite affordable; I’ve found that the full breakfasts in the hotels holds most travelers for much of the day. All dietary restrictions and food preferences can be accommodated.
  • We will have the services of excellent local guides in Russia and Poland and of an exceptional national guide, Ms. Marina Fokina, in Russia. Dr. Pearson says she is a major reason why he has taken MU groups to Russia in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016, and 2018—and she loves our MU groups! “She is the best in her business!” Dr. Pearson adds.

Land Package Price for Tour

Double Occupancy (2 people/room)

Group of 10-15 people – $2,755 (Russia) | $484 (Poland)

Group of 16-20 people – $2,325 (Russia) | $355 (Poland)

Group of 21-25 people – $2.085 (Russia) | $319 (Poland)

Single Occupancy

Group of 10-15 people – $3,405 (Russia) | $576 (Poland)

Group of 16-20 people –  $2,975 (Russia) }| $447 (Poland)

Group of 21-25 people  – $2,735 (Russia) | $411 (Poland)

Land Package Total:

  • $3,239 for double occupancy for a group of 10-15; $2,680 for double occupancy for a group of 16-20; $2,404 for a group of 21-25.
  • For single occupancy the commensurate land package costs for single occupancy are $3,981 (10-15), $3,422 (16-20), and $3,146 (21-25).
  • Because of the still relatively favorable exchange rates in Russia at present and my past business relationship with Russian Consulting and Intourist, the land package rates for this tour are lower than the rates for 2013.

Please note that these projected costs do not include the international flights and Russian visa fees. Flights booked before March 1, 2020 are expected to cost approximately $1,090 per person (a lower economy fare than what we paid in 2016 and 2018). Our carrier will be Polish Lot Airlines. After March 1 air fares to Europe are expected to rise in keeping with summer bookings. We will discuss land package and flight details at an upcoming orientation meeting—tentatively planned for early December 2019 to take advantage of the excellent air fare prices. I will send a separate notice in the next few weeks to those interested in the tour about the date of our early December information session.

Russian Visa Fees
You have two options here:

  • A single-entry (one trip) visa and a multi-entry tourist visa good for up to three years. The visa fee is $263. There is a 12-15- business day period for processing Russian visas.
  • US citizens do not need a visa to enter Poland

Photo of historic Russian castle gardens and fountainsWe expect this tour will be fun, educational, and memorable for our group. It will provide you an opportunity to learn about the rich history and culture of Russia and Poland and how both countries view their history and their place in the contemporary world. You will also learn about the relationship between Russia and Poland. We anticipate some additional surprises during the trip and chances to meet the people and appreciate the cultures of Russia and Poland.

Please note that these tour dates are chosen in part to make this educational opportunity available to students and faculty at Monmouth University and to area school teachers and interested MU alumni. The tour is also open to friends and family of the MU community so please spread the word to your friends and any acquaintances who might be interested in the tour. They need not be members of the MU community. We will respond quickly to any inquiries.

For those MU students who may be interested, Professor Pearson is happy to do an Independent Study course in Summer 2020 with this trip as the centerpiece. He has done this for students in the past. A separate charge will be added for the cost of the Independent Study course. Please let us know if you are interested.

Please contact Dr. Pearson (pearson@monmouth.edu or 732-571-3534) or Debora Graas in the History and Anthropology department (dgraas@monmouth.edu or 732-571-3440) to confirm your interest in the trip. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Please Note: We will need a $200 deposit by February 1, 2020 if you are planning to do the trip.