5,493 miles- no not just that- admission into the program, getting credits to transfer, and even obtaining a visa, all standing between myself and Moscow. Even though I knew that all of these obstacles were surmountable, I expected that something unforeseen would get in the way of me and studying abroad.
At the beginning of my sophomore year I discovered a unique program, Math in Moscow, which resonated with my desires at the time. As a math major, I wanted to pursue a challenging and diverse range of topics in math, and the exotic sounding courses (such as Knot Theory and Basic Representation Theory) were attractive to me. Also, the opportunity to see a new, foreign city was too appealing to pass on.
The program starts in less than a week, and even though I have spent time over the summer studying math and also trying to learn Russian, I expect both my courses and communicating in this new language to be difficult. I used Mango, software available free through UA, to learn how to order food in a restaurant, among other things, but even something as simple as discussing the weather in Russian is still beyond my abilities. While in Moscow, I plan on challenging myself with some courses that are more demanding than what I would have taken back at UA, but I also want to take fewer courses overall so that I can spend time interacting with Russia. There are about fifteen other students in the program, from across the United States and Canada, and I’m excited to meet them all. I also hope to spend time making friends with Russian people too, and maybe even start having conversations in Russian.
With my flight to Russia approaching, I’m reminded of how I felt before I first came to Alabama to start college. Even though I spent time online reading about what life was like at UA and talked to my future roommates over Facebook, I could tell that I still didn’t understand what life in Tuscaloosa would be like. Similarly, I’ve communicated with other students in the program over Facebook, and I’ve learned that they are all as excited as I am. I’ve even foraged through the internet looking for things I want to do in Russia, such as visit the Red Square and the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. Even after all of my research online, I expect to discover even more exciting things after I arrive.