Spoken by over 250 million people, Russian is the fifth most spoken language in the world. Outside of Russia, it remains the lingua franca to the countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia, and serves numerous Russian communities worldwide (over a million Russians in NYC). Being one of the working languages of the UN, Russian has been identified by the State Department as a critical language necessary to the vital interests of our country. Government organizations such as the CIA, NSA, FBI, NASA and others have need of Russian specialists, which makes it a great resume enhancer. The Russian program at Hofstra offers a unique blend of cultural and language immersion. Russia has produced some of the greatest writers and artists in world history. Courses in Russian culture and literature in translation offer a survey of the 19th and 20th century literature, as well as Russian folk tradition, art, music, theater, cinema, ballet, and intellectual history.