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Related Links

Matryoshka Dolls

Get to know some of our students from prior study-abroad cohorts.

Final Projects

The students of Cohort 4 plan to complete their final research projects while abroad in Russia, after which they will present their work in Russian to an audience of peers, instructors and invited guests. Their topics include:

Video made by Cohort 4 students "Tips for Enjoying Russia".
Tips for Enjoying Russia video link

Cohort 4 Students

Sofya AsatryanSofya Asatryan

I am currently majoring in communications and minoring in Russian at California State University, Northridge. Although I was raised in Los Angeles, I am originally from St. Petersburg, Russia. Last year, I began to study Russian language to fulfill my general foreign language requirement and I thought it would be a great idea, as a native speaker, to learn how to read and write. Quickly, the class became less of a requirement and more of an interest. This program has given me a wonderful opportunity to improve my Russian language skills. Now, my love for Russian language and culture continues to grow infinitely and my goal is to apply everything I have learned to my career in the future.

Courtney Bell

I earned my bachelor’s degree in biology at Scripps College. I fell in love with Russian culture and language while in college and decided to minor in Russian and Eastern European studies. Now I am furthering my knowledge and love of Russian language through the SLI program and I later plan to attend medical school.

Dillon ButolphDillon Butolph

I am currently a student at California State University, Sacramento, where my major is psychology. Having grown up with a best friend who speaks Russian fluently, I have always been a little interested in the language. At the beginning of my junior year in college, my friend and I realized that neither of us had taken enough foreign language classes in high school and we both needed to satisfy those requirements. We thought, Hey, why not take Russian together? Originally, I was only taking the class to satisfy the foreign language requirement and take a class with my friend for the first time, but I soon realized that I was actually falling in love with the language. I began to understand how challenging and beautiful Russian really is. After completing all of the Russian courses at Sacramento State and attending the SLI program, I can confidently say that my interest in the language has only intensified. Learning Russian has opened my eyes to a whole different culture, group of people and worldview. There are many things that I can see myself doing with the Russian language in the future, and I look forward to what my knowledge of the language and experiences through SLI will bring me.

James ChavezJames Chavez

I’m currently a student at California State University, Northridge, where I’m majoring in history and minoring in Russian. I entered the SLI program for both cultural and practical reasons. Russian language is part of my culture because my family defected from the Soviet Union. I’m also specializing in 20th century Russian history, which calls for a deep understanding of the Russian language. I entered the program with only one Russian class under my belt, so it has been extremely challenging for me, but the rewards are worth all the work. Besides the language itself, I find Russian culture extremely fascinating. Russian cinema, literature and philosophy all played a role in my decision to pursue Russian studies. My goal is to enter graduate school and study Russian history.

Rutherford DoRutherford Do

My name is Ford and I have a bachelor’s degree in business economics from University of California, Irvine. One day I had a lot of time on my hands and started learning Russian with Rosetta Stone. That method got boring fast, so I signed up for a class. Before long, I realized that if I didn’t become fluent, I would have spent a lot of time learning in vain. I applied to the SLI program and was accepted. It has been great so far. My goal is to achieve fluency.

Edgar Elias

My interest in Russian started with music and grew from there. I slowly learned as much as I could about this amazing country and I began to fall in love with the language and the culture. I recently graduated from University of California, Riverside, with a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages focusing on Russian, French and Chinese. Before I started the SLI program I studied Russian for two years and became acquainted mainly with Russian grammar and some literature. It was only after I worked with the wonderful professors in CSUN’s six-week residential immersion program that I learned so much more about Russian grammar, conversation, culture and history. It was also with their help that I reached a higher level of fluency in Russian. I have many plans for the future, one of which is to become a translator or an interpreter. My future plans are still in the works, but I know that wherever I end up Russian will continue to play a big role in my life.

Alexandra GonzalesAlexandra Gonzalez

I chose to study Russian on a whim, mostly to fulfill my requirement of foreign language classes for my linguistics major. After a few Russian classes, I realized how much I enjoyed learning about Russian culture and language. It was then that I decided Russian would be my minor, and I wanted to participate in the SLI program. After graduate school I want to work in international law. Russian language will be a huge advantage for me in this field, and I am looking forward to continuing my Russian studies.

Christina MayerChristina Mayer

I am a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in political science with minors in Russian and history. I would like to work in a field related to policy formation, diplomacy and/or intelligence gathering, so knowing a strategic, less commonly taught language is a huge advantage if not a necessity. I chose Russian specifically because Russia’s political system has long interested me; also, Russia is an important United States ally on many issues (and an opponent on many others). Speaking the language both opens career opportunities and allows me to thoroughly understand Russia on its own terms, purely for the sake of my own curiosity. I plan to attend graduate school after UNL, but in the meantime I’m psyched for the opportunity to go to Moscow.

Yuliana MirandaYuliana Miranda

I am currently a senior at California State University, Northridge, majoring in linguistics. I decided to start learning the Russian language during my second year at CSUN, primarily because it is outside the Romance and Germanic language families that I was already somewhat familiar with. As I advanced in my studies of linguistics, my interest in Russian grew as I became aware of the social and political role of the language in the world. I am excited for what the future holds because language opens doors not only to different cultures and worldviews but also to job opportunities. The SLI program has been an excellent means of developing my Russian language skills.

Alex OlsenAlex Olsen

I am a recent graduate of California State University, Long Beach, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a focus on judicial translation and interpretation. There is a high demand for Russian interpreters in California courts and I hope to gain certification as a court interpreter for Russian as well as Spanish in the future. On a more personal level, I feel that learning Russian is helping me to reconnect with some of my roots. Since my childhood my grandfather has entertained me with fantastic stories of his trips to Russia, and of my great-great-grandfather, who served Tsar Nicholas II before the 1917 revolution brought him to America. I hope to reclaim this side of my heritage through my studies of Russian language and culture.

Daniela ParlerDaniela Parker

A few years ago I asked my Russian history professor what I needed to do to attend graduate school in Russian history. She told me that I needed to learn Russian language, but she warned me that Russian is very difficult and said that if I was not completely sure I should learn another language. I enrolled in Russian and as I began learning I became enthralled with Russian language and culture. I heard about the SLI program even before I started speaking Russian and knew it was the program for me. The six weeks I spent in the residential immersion program proved extremely challenging, but also extremely rewarding. I am excited to continue my Russian studies and look forward to studying in Moscow next summer. My learning will be an integral part of my future career as I hope to become a Russian historian and live in Russia to conduct research.

Daniel TatenkoDaniel Tatenko

I grew up in a Russian-speaking home but never really learned how to read and write the language correctly. I am now studying Russian so I will be able to use the language on a professional level. I would like to eventually work in politics to promote U.S. interests in Russia. I am currently a sophomore at California State University, Sacramento, majoring in international business.