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History of The Russian House

The Russian House

A University of Washington Residential Experience


On August 1, 1963, the first of its kind in the country “living-language dormitory” opened in a building just off the UW campus. With space for 25 men and women, The Russian House offered the opportunity to experience life in a Russian-speaking environment. 

The Russian House was founded by a group of UW students who wanted to speak Russian in everyday living. They provided room and board to a Russian-speaking couple who cooked for and conversed with them. That position was later converted to a house manager and academic counselor roles.  The Russian House students hosted meals, film nights, concerts, poetry readings and dances. Scholarly events, and talks by visiting diplomats and other dignitaries were a regular feature of the Russian House’s enrichment programs.

Eventually interest in The Russian House experience waned, and Housing and Food Services converted the residence into a regular dormitory setting. The house continued to host students attending the UW Slavic Department’s Summer Intensive program until it closed in the mid 2000's

Many students passed through The Russian House in its more than 30 years of existence. If you have memories of the Russian House, we would love to hear them!  Please share them with us via e-mail, at