Starting to Speak

The first two thirds of my time here in Moscow, I was hindered by fear and regularly hid behind my new Russian friends when it came to speaking to other Russians. Speaking in Russian publicly with other Russians was a major source of anxiety that I acknowledged, but convinced myself was not as big of …

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One Blink and It’s Over

Sitting on the plane to Dushanbe, Tajikistan I was thinking about all the things back home I’d miss while abroad for the semester. My family, girlfriend, and typical daily routine that I have perfected over the last three years in college. None of these things would be in Tajikistan, and I would have to adapt …

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Leaving My Comfort Zone

Another month has flown by in Moscow, and suddenly I find myself over halfway through this program. I realized that fear holds me back more than anything else, but I’m still having trouble shaking it. On weekends, I feel uncomfortable going places by myself because I’m afraid that some sort of miscommunication with result in …

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Language Immersion Will Teach You About Life

“Я сам” (“I am myself”). That’s what I said to my barista this morning when, after months of serving my coffee, he asked me my name. Did I mean to say this? No. Did he laugh? Yes, along with everyone who heard it. To be sure, it is a very laughable answer to a commonplace …

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Dealing with Language Fatigue

When I first came to Saint Petersburg, I was absolutely overwhelmed. I came from a casual four hours of Russian a week, in which Russian wasn’t mandatory when speaking. I knew what I was about to begin would not be easy, and like all other language-lovers, the academic challenge was exciting for me. We all …

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The Highs and Lows of Learning Russian

When I came to Saint Petersburg, the academics had seemed intimidating. Every class is solely taught in Russian, and I am one of the less advanced students. In America, I was solely taught in English, so words such as ‘падеж’ (grammar case) were needed to understand the basics. After the first few weeks, everything clicked. …

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Reflections on Language from St. Petersburg

Last week I bought a new mug at the famous Singer-factory-turned-bookstore, Дом Книги, or Dom Knigi. A phrase is inscribed around the rim in thick, bold font: “Петербург лучше Москвы,” that is to say, “St. Petersburg is better than Moscow.” A jovial jab from one marvelous city to another, the phrase evokes a type of …

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Fulbright-Hays Scholarship Recipient Profile: Eleanor Dunbar

Eleanor Dunbar reflects on her summer on the Eurasian Regional Language Program in Dushanbe as a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad scholarship recipient and learning languages from her host family. “Be khord, be khord,” my Tajik host mother orders in a shrill tone. In Farsi, this is a command to eat, and my Tajik host family takes eating …

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The Importance of Letting Go – Keeping in Touch with Friends and Family back home while Abroad

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” - Christopher Columbus Your decision to study an academic-year abroad will undoubtedly leave an impact on your loved ones back home. While communication and reassurance is important, I’m here to remind you how critical it is for you …

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