Eve (Cognitive Science and Dance)
Studying Russian here at CWRU helped prepare me for the Critical Language Scholarship, which I participated in in the summer of 2012. I spent two months living with a host family in Ufa, the capitol of the Republic of Bashkortostan, attending intensive language classes, and spending time with new friends that I made, including my Russian language partner. Not only was this experience a great opportunity to apply and expand my knowledge of Russian, but it also added to my understanding of Russian culture. Spending time in Ufa helped me to learn more about the diverse cultural and ethnic groups that make up the country’s population.
When I wasn’t busy studying, I had the opportunity to spend some time traveling throughout the country. I spent two days exploring Kazan, the capitol of the nearby Republic of Tatarstan, a weekend in a small country village visiting cousins of the host family, and took an overnight trip to a camp located in the Southern Ural Mountains.
Studying in Moscow was amazing. I was at the Moscow Art Theatre School, only a few minutes on foot from the Kremlin and the city center, and in our (limited!) free time we could walk over to Red Square or to one of the many bookstores in the area. Living abroad was nothing at all like I had expected. The classes were hard, but the trickiest part turned out to be the day-to-day—buying groceries, finding time to cook between classes and homework, navigating the metro. (Actually, the metro wasn’t bad at all—it’s incredibly well organized.) It was the most challenging semester of school I’ve ever taken, and easily one of the best. I’d gladly do it all over again.
I went to Vladimir, Russia in March 2015 via the Alternate Spring Break program through Vanderbilt University. The Russian side of the organisation was done through the American Home, a school that primarily teaches English to Russians. I spent a week there living with a host family and exploring the city with the other American students on the trip. We saw many of the historic sites of Vladimir and Suzdal, another historic city nearby. We were almost always accompanied by Russian university students studying English, so the language barrier was not an issue. The best part of the trip were all of the people we met. Everyone was friendly and interested in talking to us, from the small children to elderly veterans. Going to Russia is definitely an experience I would recommend, I wish I was there for more than a week!
I studied at Moscow State University in the spring semester of 2015 with the SRAS program, and it was probably the best choice I made in college. Getting to live in Moscow was amazing—the city is exciting and filled with cultural events, museums, and interesting sites. I made friends with Russians as well as other foreign students, and talking with friends and my host family improved my conversational Russian. I learned a lot about Russian culture while there, and got to experience holidays like Maslenitsa (the holiday before Lent) and Victory Day. I also was able to travel around Russia, both on my own and with friends. Since getting around the city is relatively easy (thanks to the metro, which is incredibly beautiful, clean, and efficient) Moscow was an ideal place to be a student. There are so many exciting things to see and opportunities to meet new people. I hope I’ll be back sometime soon!