My introduction to the Russian language and culture began with a girl – a high school exchange student from Astrakhan, Russia - who opened my eyes to foreign culture and the idea of world travel. Following my junior year in high school, I lived with her family in Russia for one month. That was when I fell in love with learning about other cultures and languages. I also became interested in the extraction industry and the impact extracting crude oil, natural gas, uranium and other nonrenewable resources has on the economy of Russia and the United States.
My Boren Scholarship funded my second trip to Russia and renewed my love for Russian culture and language. I spent two semesters studying at Moscow State University (MSU) and took courses in Russian grammar, phonetics, literature, history, politics, business, mass media and culture. At MSU, I had the opportunity to work with the International Union, a club for students interested in foreign cultures and languages, and I also participated in the University League of KVN, a Russian comedy game show, in which my team made it to the semi-finals.
I also had a number of memorable moments outside of MSU. While too numerous to list, a few include:
I advise anyone with a passion to study abroad to apply for this scholarship. Do not be afraid of the competition, or fear that you may not be the perfect candidate. Even though I was a freshman who did not major in the Russian language, I applied for and received the scholarship. Always work hard, keep on researching, and never be afraid to try something new: those are the three main things that helped me obtain the Boren Scholarship. Actually, the application process alone is a beneficial process.
I would like to express my appreciation to the Boren Awards for the opportunity to learn, to gain life experiences, to further my language study, to understand a different culture, and to make lifelong friends. The Boren Scholarship gave me a chance to be an unofficial representative of the U.S. in Russia, while also to gathering a new appreciation for Russia and all it has to offer!
Written: December 2012