Written by Blaise Nicklas, an Edinboro University Junior
One morning during the first week of our Introduction to Russian Language class, our professor asked about the transition to living in Moscow. She pointed out that Russians, like Americans, also have two arms and two legs, so we can’t be that different. By and large, we have found this to be true. As the Russian students we interact with on a regular basis are close to us in age, we do share a certain mindset. But that is not to say that we have not noticed any differences between ourselves and our Russian hosts.
For example, we take a more relaxed attitude toward scheduling when to do our homework. The Russian students often ask us whether we have finished our homework yet, only to be surprised that we have yet to start it. Not that we are all procrastinators, but we take no issue with putting it off until after dinner. Usually following some chiding by our Russian counterparts, we get to work. They are also very eager to help us with homework, especially our Russian assignments. We recently began our first class taught by an American professor from Penn State. As the class will be more similar to one taught in the U.S., we expect to help the Russian students adjust to the new teaching style.
One day last week, we went to a school in Moscow to meet and visit with students learning English. We met in their classroom, where they had readied tea, juice, and snacks for us. While talking with one of the students, a young woman in her eleventh year of instruction, she asked me what I thought the main difference was between Russians and Americans. This would not have been so significant if I had not already been asked the exact same question earlier that week by a student at MSAU. At the time, I struggled to answer it, because it is hard to boil down to a simple response. But I found it interesting that I received the same question from two people, totally independent of each other. In the same way that many young Americans are fascinated by foreign countries, our Russian friends have showed a marked interest in the U.S. and learning English. In our first weeks, the culture shock has been minimal but over the next few months, we are guaranteed a deeper understanding of our host country’s character.
Also in this Issue...
- Americans in Moscow-land by Malisa Manning
"The rest of the tour progressed fairly quickly, mostly because Dr. Malashenkov tried to speed it up before we all became the newest frozen statue attractions of Moscow..."
- Americans Bring “Warm” Weather with Them: Moscow Winter by Aidan Lowe
"The Russians have consistently commented that it is warm for winter and early February. Although the Americans from warm regions of the U.S. might disagree, all of our grit will be tested soon as there is a rumor that temperatures will reach negative thirty near Valentine's Day..."
- Dom, Sweet Dom by Chris Olvey
"At first it was a struggle to go to the canteen because of our lack of communication skills with the people that serve us. For our first few days the workers probably assumed that we were deaf-mutes, but we’ve begun to learn the names of the dishes and can get exactly what we like. A lot of the foods at the canteen are foreign to us, but when we venture out to try something different it is usually very good..."
Issue Photographer: William Nelson
Issue Reviewer: Chris Olvey
Written by Malisa Manning, a Louisiana State University Sophomore
If someone asked me to describe our first few weeks in Moscow the phrase, “babes in the woods” immediately comes to mind. Some of us knew little to nothing about the Russian culture and language. We knew nothing of our surrounding area or public transportation system. Not to mention the fact that most of us found the Russian people themselves to be a bit intimidating. Luckily for us, our Russian classmates became our heroes, saving us from the bleak and boring world of the dormitory. They went out of their way to look for interesting places for us to visit. When some of us expressed interest in seeing Red Square, immediate plans were made and the next weekend we were set to go on a bus excursion. The bus excursion began at 10 AM, with Dr. Malashenkov joining us to explain some of the historical significance behind the points of interest we would be seeing. After a distracted moment with Cheburashka, a famous Russian cartoon character, we made our way to Red Square. We stood in the center of Red Square and looked around, noticing the impressively unique St. Basil’s Cathedral, the expensive boutique mall G.U.M., the imposing fortress walls of the Kremlin, the beautiful Spasskaya clock tower, and an outside ice-skating rink that we had to drag several of the girls away from.
After the excitement of the ice-skating rink died down, one of our Russian classmates explained that St. Basil’s Cathedral was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible, who, according to historical legend, had the architect blinded so that he could never create anything that could compare to the cathedral. On that note, we continued the tour.
The rest of the tour progressed fairly quickly, mostly because Dr. Malashenkov tried to speed it up before we all became the newest frozen statue attractions of Moscow. We stopped by Sparrow Hills, one of the highest points in Moscow, and witnessed the magnificence of Moscow State University and looked out at the epic Luzhniki Stadium. We made a quick trip to Moscow-City, or Moscow International Business Center, where the buildings are made mostly from glass and where the rent is probably the highest in all of Moscow. Lastly, we visited the Moscow Triumphal Arch on Poklonnaya Hill in Victory Park. We passed underneath the gigantic arch on our way back to our bus, most of us straining our necks as we looked at the statues and designs covering the monument. The ride back to the dormitory gave us all enough time to warm up, reflect, and enjoy each others’ company in the relative bouncing comfort of the small bus.