Smolensk Oblast () is a region in Central Russia, which borders Bryansk Oblast to the southwest, Belarus to the west, Pskov Oblast to the northwest, Tver Oblast to the north, Moscow Oblast to the east, and Kaluga Oblast to the southeast.
Smolensk Oblast is home to some of Russia's oldest cities. It is also the site of much of the most fierce warfare Russia has experienced, from the Mongol conquest, to Medieval wars for supremacy between Russia, Poland, and Lithuania, to the Napoleonic Invasion, to the two World Wars of the 20th century. Few original structures have survived these centuries of conflict, but Russia has faithfully rebuilt the most important of Smolensk Oblast's cultural monuments. The capital, Smolensk, is a major tourist destination in its own right, and is a convenient hub for exploring the region.
You should expect that few residents of Smolensk Oblast outside of the main university have anything greater than a rudimentary command of any languages other than Russian.