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Get to know some of our students from prior study-abroad cohorts.
As a student of linguistics at Cal State Northridge, I have been passionate about the pursuit of language knowledge for years. In order to gain better perspective in my field and improve any research I may undertake, fluency in a foreign language is vital. This is precisely why I chose to study Russian some two years prior. I felt a strong connection to its sounds, structure, and the culture deeply embedded in it. On completing this program, I intend to utilize my knowledge of the language in every possible academic endeavor.
I am currently a student at University of California, Irvine, majoring in international studies and minoring in Russian studies. I have always had an interest in international relations, and when it came time for me to learn a foreign language, Russian was my first choice. I plan to use the CSUN study-abroad experience in Russia to further increase my skills with the Russian language and my knowledge of Russian culture and apply them toward achieving success in my future career, either with the U.S. government or U.S. Army.
I am currently a sophomore at California State University, Northridge, where I am majoring in history and minoring in Russian studies. I chose to be part of the STARTALK Russian Language and Culture Immersion Program at CSUN because of my fascination with Russian history. I felt that it would be impossible to have a fully rounded view of Russia and its history without having a strong grasp of its language. After taking just one semester of Russian, I fell in love with the language. My learning experience has been difficult, but I nevertheless am looking forward to continuing my Russian language study with this program. After the immersion program, I plan on entering graduate school to study American history.
Russian language acquisition began for me not just as the fulfillment of a foreign language requirement but as a personal challenge to conquer the unfamiliar. Undoubtedly, over the last three years my academic focus, career goals, and personal achievements have become inextricably intertwined with Russian language and culture. As a junior at the University of Louisville, I'm double majoring in anthropology and Russian and Slavic studies. After receiving a David L. Boren Scholarship for International Study in Russia for the 2012-2013 academic year, I sought out a strong summer immersion program to prepare for study abroad. At that time I was fortunate enough to be awarded a spot in the residential STARTALK program offered at CSUN. Those six weeks proved immensely beneficial in preparing me for the year to come. Now at the conclusion of this year I have developed a love and appreciation for Russian contemporary culture. In my journey to achieve fluency, I am seeing results far exceeding my expectations. Staying focused, I intend to polish and refine my command of the language in hopes of securing a position as a linguist for the FBI or working in the Department of Energy in the Office of Russian and Eurasian Affairs. My career goals are set high, but programs such as the Strategic Language Initiative will prepare me to reach them. Whether I use this critical language proficiency to conduct graduate research or to serve my government in the years following, knowledge of Russian language and culture will remain a passion of mine and absolutely vital in my career path of choice.
I am currently a student at Pasadena City College, planning to major in math. I became intrigued by learning Russian at 16, when I spent a summer with my best friend on the Black Sea. There I gleaned two things: 1) that Russian is basically the lingua franca of Eastern Europe, and 2) that it sounds really beautiful. The STARTALK summer program at California State University, Northridge, exponentially improved my speaking abilities and vocabulary, to my sheer delight. I can't wait to further immerse myself in the language in Russia and increase my fluency. Learning Russian is fun in itself, but the real payoff is communicating in the language with someone else; that always brings a smile to my face. It is my goal to achieve fluency and follow a career path that will allow me to communicate in Russian (and smile).
I began studying Russian in my first semester at Pasadena City College. Almost immediately after beginning the class I decided that I had to master the language. It was unlike anything I had ever heard. As I studied the language and as my instructors shared more and more of their culture with me, my interests expanded beyond the language. When I started at PCC I thought that mathematics was all that interested me, and so there was no question about what my major would be. But since discovering my passion for Russian, I've decided to double major in mathematics and Russian language. Words cannot describe the gratitude I feel toward my instructors for the encouragement I have received and the opportunities they have granted me. My hope is that one day I will be able to study mathematics at a Russian university. I feel that this program is definitely the next step in accomplishing that dream.
I am currently attending California State University, Northridge, pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science and a minor in Russian. My interest is in foreign affairs and government work. Within these fields, my primary interest is in human trafficking. Learning Russian will be essential to bettering my knowledge of events within this field and enhancing my communication skills in volunteer and career work. I hope that the Strategic Language Initiative program will help to further my knowledge of Russian language, culture, and current events.
I am an environmental studies major and am interested in Russia's present views toward the environment and environmentalism as well as what the country's politics concerning these issues might be in the future. I will be researching this topic during my study abroad and will present my final oral project on environmental issues and politics in the United States and Russia, with a particular focus on what each of these governments is doing to try to solve environmental problems.
I am currently a junior at California State University, Northridge, majoring in mathematics, however I would like to change my major to Russian studies or add it as a minor. I became interested in Russian language when my friends would speak Russian with each other, excluding me and other friends who spoke only English. I have completed two semesters of study here at CSUN and will complete the STARTALK Russian immersion program. I decided to continue my studies in Russian language not only because it is interesting but because it opens up many job opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to me.
I am currently a sophomore majoring in Russian at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. My interest in Slavic languages and literature began when I first traveled to Poland to visit my grandfather's family in 2007. Upon returning to the United States, I made it my goal to learn Polish. I spent many hours with language-learning software and "teach yourself" programs. I decided to learn Russian after reading Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamozov for the first time during my junior year of high school. Since then I have read a number of authors in Russian, including Daniil Kharms, Ivan Bunin, and Anton Chekhov. My goal is to earn my Ph.D. in Russian literature with a minor in Slavic linguistics. I believe the Strategic Language Initiative program will help me to reach the level of fluency necessary to achieve this goal.
I always knew I wanted to learn a second language, but the opportunity to learn Russian in the STARTALK immersion cohort was a blessing I could not predict. As a graduate student in the Linguistics-TESL program at California State University, Northridge, learning Russian has taught me about what future students may experience when learning English. In addition to improving my understanding of language development, the knowledge I have gained from acquiring Russian has improved my outlook and appreciation for diversity, culture, and tradition. I hope to one day become fluent in Russian and use it in my profession as an educator as well as in my home life.