Bridget Menkis is a fourth-year Russian Language & Literature Major and Computer Science Minor. Bridget spent Fall 2015 studying abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia, and describes her experience below.
I spent last Fall studying in Russia through the CIEE-St. Petersburg program. I studied with about 50 other students from American universities, so we were all non-native Russian speakers just working on learning the language, which was super helpful to the learning process. There were two options within the program, a Language-Intensive program and an Area-Studies program, both of which consisted of five classes. I was doing the language program, so all of my classes were taught completely in Russian by native speakers. The Professors had all been at CIEE for a while though so they were very accustomed to teaching non-Russian students so that was great.
The program gives the option to live in a youth hostel or with a host family and I chose to stay with a host mom, which I think was a big factor in my language improvement. She only spoke Russian, but all-in-all it was a good thing because it forced me to practice my conversational skills even more since we could only communicate in Russian. I know a lot of the other students who stayed with host families felt the same way. Being immersed in the Russian culture, down to the home-level, definitely made a huge difference in my understanding of the language and made me certain it’s the right Major for me.