Me outside the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow
It took a long time and it was painful, but I had a major breakthrough with the language a couple weeks ago, and I’ve never felt better about studying abroad in Russia. Now I feel like I am legitimately learning the language and not just making it through each class period. I am now proud to say that I speak Russian every day and with my friends at night when we all study together.
If you want to come to a country where you don’t speak the language, you can do it. I did it. I used to be terrified of shopping alone or even riding the metro for fear of someone talking to me, but now I have the confidence and a few of the skills needed to get my points across.
It’s sad to think that my time here is half over. While I could be cliché and say that the time is going by so fast, it doesn’t really seem that way here. It really feels like I have been living in Russia for 2 months. Comparing the way I was when I got here, only knowing about five Russian words, and where I’m at now is pretty amazing. I think about my progress a lot and how great it would be to learn the language even better once I’m back in America; then come back to Russia some day. I am also so glad that I chose to study abroad in the fall of my senior year and I think it is the perfect time for anyone to do this. It is enough independence to whet my appetite for graduation and to finally be done, and also a great inspiration to make my post-college life just as exciting as this semester is.
Each day I pick up more and more vocabulary, and it makes the whole experience here so much better. I went to Greece with a couple friends last week and while I know some of the basics of Modern Greek, we all kept speaking Russian whenever we were in restaurants or buying things on the streets. Living in Russia has made me quite the Russian, I believe. In Greece, the people were so overly friendly and hospitable that it opened my eyes to how quiet and curt the Russian culture really is. I hate to say it, but the stereotypes of Russians being reserved is fairly accurate. I hope when I come back to America, though, that part of Russia won’t have rubbed off too much on me.
All in all, if you keep an open mind about studying abroad, I guarantee you will have the time of your life.