I’ve been home for about a while now and I’m getting ready to head back to Alabama for the fall. So I have used this time to reflect on my time in Russia. Now it seems so far away and its weird to think that I’ve spent a semester there. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked being there, but it gradually grew on me and I now I consider it my second home.
Surprisingly, I don’t think I suffered any reverse culture shock since arriving back in the states. However, when I had my layover in Paris coming home I struggled a little though. Whenever people in the airport spoke to me, I would reply in Russian. It took a little while to adjust to not hearing Russian around me or responding with it, but by the time I arrived back home it wasn’t a struggle any more. My biggest struggle was adjusting to the time change. After struggling for about two weeks of trying not to go to the sleep in the middle of the day and staying up all night, I finally adjusted.
Its weird not hearing Russian spoken around me on a daily basis and I have come to miss it. I have found myself watching more TV shows and movies that are set in Russia just to hear some Russian and to see some sights in Russia. I’ve come to realize that most of these TV shows and movies are a little bit stereotypical of Russia. The translations of the conversation in Russian annoy me slightly because its not how I would translate it. I’ve also noticed that in American movies and shows Russian is spoken much slower than in Russia in real life. That’s what threw me off the most when I was in Russia. It was hard for me to catch what everyone was saying, but by the end I understood more of what people were saying.
Studying abroad has taught me many things. I think its important to step outside of your comfort zone at least once. If you don’t do that you won’t grow as a person. Studying abroad is definitely a perfect example of stepping outside of your comfort zone. While abroad you are experiencing a different culture from your own. It teaches you that while you and others may come from different backgrounds we are all human and that we all essential want the same things. For me, studying in Russia taught me that. While the US and Russia might not always get along, it doesn’t mean that Americans and Russians are all that different from each other. I am so thankful that I meet so many wonderful people that shared a part of their culture with me. I enjoyed talking to them about our lives and getting to know them and I am so glad to call them my friends. I had the time of my life in Russia and I hope to go back soon and visit my new friends.