Stories from Abroad: Russia
RUSSIAN STUDIES PROGRAM
It is another gorgeous fall day here in Nizhni Novgorod. The weather is still unusually warm for Mother Russia in September. I'm enjoying this "sweater weather," but am starting to wonder why dad and I worked so hard to fit my heavy winter coat in my suitcase.The trees have turned their autumn colors here at the unniversity and in the numerous parks nearby. After supper, some American friends and I enjoy taking walks with our Pushkin (a beloved Russian poet/writer) literature. We eventually find a spot to sit and discuss his writings as we watch the sunset over the city.
I continue to develop relationships with Russian students. Our dorm came to life about two weeks ago as the Russian students moved in. Now I'm having difficulties balancing my studies and my Russian experiences. I want to truly experience Russia while I'm here, not just the inside of my dorm room. However, at the same time, I don't want my GPA to suffer a blow. Still, I enjoy evening tea time with Russian girl friends, or sing-along-with-Charity times when a guitar is shoved at me and I serenade several Russian friends, then insist on them singing me a Russian tune. I love music. It is such a universal language that I'm incredibly grateful for.
Af far as academics go, language classes continue to be challenging, yet I'm starting to get the hang of the different cases and conjugations. My pronunciation is still pretty bad, but I'm able to pick up parts of Russian conversations more and more. The church that I like to attend uses transparencies to display the words to songs, so I like to try to sound out words and sing along. I'm beginning to understand more of what I'm singing. Even though I'm not 100% sure, my spirit is worshiping with my Russian brothers and sisters and I hope that God is pleased. Sometimes they do a song that I recognize, so I'll sing along softly in English. It is so awesome to be apart of the global family of God!
I start my service project this afternoon. Myself and two other girls from my group will work in an orphanage every friday for the remainder of our time here in Nizhni. I'm very excited to interact with kids again! I'm not entirely sure what to expect, but I'm excited to get started.
In just two weeks, I'll be moving in with a host families, thus beginning yet another adjustment period. It'll be sad not to be around my American friends all the time. We really get along well as a group and have come to rely on each other here in this big, foreign place. At the same time, though, it'll be neat to become part of a Russian family and experience the culture from that angle.