I was overall satisfied with this program and all the negative experience are mostly my own fault. Let me start with the negatives and have a happy ending instead. 1. It is harder to make... rgab
Health & Safety
Seeing different sides of Russia
Submitted by rgab - Middlebury College | February 13, 2016
I was overall satisfied with this program and all the negative experience are mostly my own fault. Let me start with the negatives and have a happy ending instead.
1. It is harder to make friends with Russians but once you make friends, they are going to be really good friends. The professors might announce your presence in the mainstream course, so be prepared for that but mostly, it will earn you only glances in your direction. To make friends, you need to start talking to people, introducing yourself, and if you find someone who's open to meeting up with you, then meet up with them! I made two friends that way in my spring semester.
2. Your experience will depend on the group dynamic and since you're going to be spending much time with the people in the program, do try to get along or else group hang outs can turn tense quick. I had a hard time coping sometimes because I did not have the support network I needed but that was mostly my own fault, so find something that you love doing and do it!
3. Moscow is an expensive city, so take advantage of financial aid and grants from programs like Boren or Gilman.
On to the positive aspects of the program:
1. So much travel! I appreciate this aspect very much. We traveled all over Moscow and we visited St. Petersburg, Tatarstan (Republic), Ekaterinburg, and Suzdal. Other programs usually do not have this much travel! You will see just why Russia considers herself to be a Eurasian country with Slavic, Christian, Muslim, Turkic, Asian, and European people's living in this huge country.
2. The staff is extremely helpful and friendly. We have bugged them constantly every day and night with questions and they are always there to facilitate and to assist. No complaints about it from me.
3. Just like anywhere, your professors going to be good or bad. Professor Trufanova is engaging and great, so I recommend taking a mainstream course with her if you can. I would also recommend taking courses in the Higher School of Economics to get a different experience and meet different people. That school differs slightly from the RGGU, so don't hesitate to take classes there.
4. Although the classes could be in separate campuses throughout the city, the metro is amazing, so don't fear. Just know that you will have to commute quite a bit if you decide to get out of your comfort zone (staying within RGGU).