I enjoyed studying in Moscow, although it really does differ from the way that I was used to studying in America (in terms of the structure of the classes and how the classes are taught). What I enjoyed most was having classes comprised of students of varying nationalities, and being able to have frank conversations about our countries of origin, how our experiences differ living there versus in Moscow, the stereotypes Russians had about Americans, etc. It was quite interesting to see how our opinions and perspectives differed – and also how they were the same – and then being able to apply those conversations and our experiences in either country to the topics that we were studying. At that period, I also had the opportunity to live with some of the Russian students in the program – and that was probably the best experience for me, as there are certainly things about Russian life that you just can’t learn in the classroom. I formed quite a few solid friendships during this program. And those are the kinds of experiences that I would not have had if I had not done the program, in my opinion.
The wide range of topics covered by the program provides students with a broad spectrum of skills for future professional employment. Topics ranging from finance, management, and sales and marketing techniques to consumer behavior, reforms in emerging markets, international business law and foreign investing give students a breadth of understanding of the international business arena. Combining such an array of subjects into one program allows students to synthesize the information, which, culminating in a researched Master's thesis, proves to professional state and private agencies that a graduate of this program is equipped with the knowledge and analytical skills necessary to contribute and thrive in a managerial capacity within today's continually changing environments.
I've always been personally fascinated by Russian history and culture. I simply couldn't pass up the chance to come and study in Moscow. The Russian lessons I've received here at the Academy have been great, and it's a fantastic experience to practice the language with the people in conjunction with exploring Moscow.
When I am not studying, I enjoy visiting the many sights that Moscow and its surrounding area have to offer. It's been an amazing opportunity to take in some of the many museums, theatres and vistas readily available here. And when it's time for a break from the big city, there's easy access to transportation to beautify nearby towns and sightseeing. To relax, often I simply play my classical guitar here at home, catch a movie in the kino, or go out and enjoy the town with friends.
Ronald Anderson, Stanford University, 2012
"Moscow. From the fleeting warm days of early and mid-September to the short snowy days in December when the sky spends most of the day cast in the glow of a perpetual dreamy twilight, Moscow was a beautiful experience…"
Moscow. From the fleeting warm days of early and mid-September to the short snowy days in December when the sky spends most of the day cast in the glow of a perpetual dreamy twilight, Moscow was a beautiful experience. When I came, I knew nothing. Not the alphabet, not "Hello" – nothing. However, thanks to an amazing Russian teacher and the daily need to put my nascent knowledge to use, my proficiency grew at an alarming and satisfying rate. My host family was also very supportive, and helped with my Russian language skills in addition to lending key insights into Russian culture. Though perhaps not at first glance, the Russian people were warm, inviting, and so dearly open. One must only try, and they will be sure to meet you halfway. Aside from the many sights there are to see in Moscow itself – from Red Square to amusing holes-in-the-wall on random side streets a little south of the center – the long-distance excursion to Suzdal was one of the highlights of my experience. It lent a glimpse into the inner life of a different Russia: sedate and even pleasantly bucolic compared to the bustling Moscow. I grew up, branched out, and stretched my limits; and each day held a new and wonderful surprise. Therefore, I can forever say, "My dearest Russia."
Jonathan Wood, Vassar College, 2012
"If you have the drive and desire to learn Russian and experience the city of Moscow <...>, I strongly recommend this program."
My name is Jonathan Wood, and I am a graduate of Vassar College ('12) as well as a current Georgetown Law student. I also hope to pursue a dual degree with both a JD and Master's Degree in Russian and Eastern European Studies from Georgetown. My experience with the study abroad program that brought me to RANEPA was wonderful. I received an internship that was focused on my career track as I worked at the Slavic Center of Law and Justice and was happy with my work there. I primarily did translations on their website and for their periodical, but I always felt respected by my superiors. By talking with my colleagues and superiors, my professional proficiency of Russian grew at a quick rate. My advanced Russian class was stimulating and engaging, as well, since the professor truly cared about my success and learning. The work and class, however, are not too intense to prevent you from having plenty of free time to explore the city. I was fortunate and lived by one of the main parks in the center of Moscow, which allowed me to spend hours traversing the city and finding new markets, stores, and other social venues. The staff was also very attentive and helpful as I managed to break my arm (no fault but my own) during my stay. I felt well taken care of and was not concerned at any moment – despite having to get surgery in Moscow – due to the support I received. If you have the drive and desire to learn Russian and experience the city of Moscow and are a relative self-starter, I strongly recommend this program.
Josh DeMoss, Baylor University, 2012
"Moscow - What surge that sound can start in every Russian's inmost heart!"
Pushkin once said in his novel Eugene Onegin, "Moscow – What surge that sound can start in every Russian's inmost heart!" Though I am not Russian, I understand the surge. Moscow was everything I expected and much more. First off, my homestay was amazing. The food was great, and the family were always willing to help me with my homework. The friends I made, both American and Russian, along with the city of Moscow itself, made the experience once in a lifetime. There was always something to do! I not only learned the Russian language, but I learned how willing everyone was to teach me about their culture and lifestyle. I will never forget the lessons I learned and the people I met. The staff at the Academy was also very kind; always willing to help with anything, whether it be train tickets, taxis, museums, or just the best place to eat. I was also very lucky to have the chance to attend the Summer Campus in Kazan, where I made tons of Russian friends my age and was able to work side-by-side on business and service projects. It was an amazing experience, and I even had the the chance to get on stage and practice my Russian in front of 200 people! These experiences helped me grow as a student, world citizen, and a friend.
Sharon Tan Xin Hui, Stanford University, 2011
"I will remember the kindness of every Muscovite."
I have enjoyed being in Moscow very much. When I first came here in the beginning of September, I knew nothing about it. I didn't even know the Cyrillic alphabet, or how to say the simplest things in Russian. I did not know what to expect, and in this respect I was not very prepared. However, even from the airport onwards, I have met many kind people in Moscow, who have helped me and touched me. To me, they are Moscow – not the corruption, not the militia-renamed-as-police, not the stagnant politics or the cold weather. The staff at the Stanford Center has been consistently helpful and kind. They are happy to hear our suggestions, and allow us to interrupt their work any time of the day. Grant has helped us buy train tickets and get broken computers repaired. Nastia never hesitates to help us make calls to find out about the circus, Russian banyas, and even hostels in Suzdal. Masha coordinates excursions and our internships for us, as well as the occasional dinner and Bolshoi performance. Alexey has helped us with our home stays and even to connect with previously hosted students. And when Sasha heard the feedback that we wanted more structured interactions with Russian students, he organized an exchange activity and we got to visit a Russian dacha belonging to one of our Russian tutors.
Alli Rath, Stanford University, 2011
In the photo: Josie Johnson (left) and Alli Rath (right)
"Russia is an interesting and completely foreign place, and I learned a lot about why it is the way it is, as well as about myself in the process."
My experience in Russia has been one of the most complex, amazing, and life-changing experiences of my life. Coming to such a different country with only a year’s worth of Russian was difficult, but with the support of my host family and the staff, I was able to assimilate into the life and culture here and start to understand Russia on a deeper level. My host mother was the sweetest, most amazing lady, who excelled at over-feeding me and helping me to make leaps and bounds in my Russian. It was wonderful to come back to a place that felt like home every night yet was entirely Russian, and I think that this is a huge strength of the program.
S. J. Ralston, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2011
"Overall, I would call this experience the single most beneficial semester of my college career."
This past summer, I was a part of the ANE's study abroad program. It was undoubtedly one of the best experiences of my college life so far; being immersed in Russian language and culture improved my language skills and broadened my mind considerably. I was housed with a Russian family, who not only helped me immensely in getting around the city, but also gave me a fantastic and in-depth view into Russian culture in day-to-day life. The language courses were intense, but in a good way; I don't think I have ever learned so much in a single semester. My vocabulary and pronunciation improved dramatically, and my speaking and writing skills went from merely passable to conversational. The excursions, though, were the highlight of the program. We traveled to many different places of cultural importance with our groups, getting to see first-hand the history and culture of Moscow and the surrounding country. On these excursions, our guides told us in-depth stories and histories about the places we visited, giving us a wide and deep view of Russian culture. Overall, I would call this experience the single most beneficial semester of my college career.
Lydia Roberts, Brignam Young University, 2011
In the photo, from left to right: Brynn Riley, Lauren Rose, Lydia Roberts and Tatiana Isupov
"Thanks to the internship program, I became a much more attractive candidate for future work and scholarship opportunities"
I gained invaluable experience in Moscow, thanks to an internship program that provides not only formal language coursework (skills that I found myself using almost immediately in everyday life) but also the opportunity to use my language skills to gain meaningful work experience. Thanks to the internship program, I became a much more attractive candidate for future work and scholarship opportunities. Beyond academics, I relished the opportunity to engage with Russian culture in such a vibrant city. I was able, thanks to the high level of autonomy offered by the program, to explore Moscow on my own terms.
Robert Lothman, Harvard University, 2011
"I definitely recommend this program to anyone interested in studying in Russia."
The Summer Language and Internship Program through the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration provided me with a wonderful opportunity to study in Moscow over the summer. This program allows students to study the Russian language, while simultaneously gaining relevant work experience in an organization that matches their interests. Upon arrival, the program places students in an appropriate level of Russian language instruction based upon their prior experience with the language. The language instructors who teach these programs are awesome! They are all very nice and very knowledgeable, and they were really helpful not only in teaching us the language, but also in helping to show us the city and to engage in meaningful conversations about important issues in Russia and abroad. In addition to the language instructors, the program staff members were also very nice and very helpful. The program office was always open, and the staff encouraged us to come to them with any questions, comments, or concerns that we had. It was obvious to us that the program staff were very serious about making sure that we were comfortable and that we were able to have a great experience in Russia.
Emily Elliott, SUNY Binghamton, 2011
"My favorite experience was undoubtedly my homestay."
My summer abroad through the Academy of National Economy was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. I was able to take the equivalent of two semesters worth of Russian language in two months. My class was taught solely in Russian, which made learning Russian even more effective and interesting. I looked forward to class every day because the setup was different, yet just as effective (if not more so) than American language classrooms. While abroad, I also had the opportunity to find an internship through ANE. After earning my undergraduate degree, I plan to earn a PhD in Russian history. The staff at ANE helped me find an opportunity as a research assistant with a professor in another university. I researched Russian-NATO relations in terms of a joint missile shield. My article may be translated and published in a collection of articles on US-Russian relations. The experience of research and writing will certainly help me pursue my dreams of doctoral research!
Chris Howell, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2011
"Moscow was nothing like I expected, and strangely it was so much better than I anticipated."
My trip to Moscow in the Summer of 2011 through the Georgia Tech LBAT program with the Russian Academy of the National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) was my first ever trip outside the United States, so needless to say, I was pretty frightened of how it might go. But, everything went so smoothly, from being picked up at the airport to my trip back home. To say the least, Moscow was nothing like I expected, and strangely it was so much better than I anticipated. My good experience had much to do with the wonderful people in the Office of International Projects; they were incredibly helpful with any problems I had, even helping me get allergy medication. Also if you are interested in the history of the USSR, Moscow is the place to be, because a walk through the city with the juxtaposition of the old Soviet apartment buildings with the new skyscrapers and malls can tell you more about history than any book. It’s so difficult for me to express how amazing this program is, and I get a little emotional talking about it actually, because I just miss it so much. I made so many friends, and even a couple of best friends through the program. The cultural excursions were wonderful, but not nearly as amazing as the fun that you can make for yourself in a city like Moscow, and I just cannot wait to go back.
Lilly Sath, Stanford University, 2010
Before I left for Moscow, I had never stepped foot outside the United States. Most people wouldn't choose Russia as their first foreign country to visit, but I'm so glad I did because the Moscow experience is truly one of a kind.
Kathryn Zehr, McGill University, 2010
"I was able to witness firsthand what I had learned about Russia and gain a better understanding of the country."
Taking classes at ANE in the summer of 2010 greatly improved my language proficiency and allowed me to experience Russian culture firsthand by living with a host family and going on excursions. Having studied the language for two years at McGill, I had a solid basis but needed a true immersion experience. Russia was very much how I had imagined it – beautiful yet a challenging atmosphere – not your typical tourist attraction. Admittedly, it was difficult to adjust to a new culture and constantly speaking Russian with teachers, classmates and my host family, but eventually I began to notice the greater ease with which I was able to speak, and by the end of the summer my proficiency had greatly increased. Excursions to Red Square, Tret’yakovskaya Galeria, Novodevichii Monastery, the Great Patriotic War Museum, Suzdal, and Vladimir also gave me a greater cultural understanding by being able to see these famous historical sites in person.
Devon Humphreys, University of Georgia (USA), 2010
"… this is the beauty of Moscow: the sense of community here"
How do I begin to describe Moscow? Upon arriving in this grand city, I had developed many presuppositions about Russia and the Russian way of life. However, seeing the reality of this place has given me a chance to revise my assumptions. It certainly is not a place for the weak; on the contrary, living in Moscow takes great strength of character and strong will. However, the rewards for such endurance are well worth it. While it has often been unbearably hot outside, the sights of the Red Square, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, and other such places give tourists and natives alike a reason to dwell in this magnificent city. Often we find ourselves in crowded places with much noise and clamor, but this is the beauty of Moscow: the sense of community here. It has, for example, never been easier for me to find my way with the help of many willing natives, some of whom will go as far as to accompany me to a destination themselves. Most people I encounter are extremely friendly and willing to lend a hand in many affairs, which has helped to make for a more pleasant experience overall.
Stephanie Chan, Stanford University, 2009
In the photo, from top to bottom: Alissa Bonneau, Emily Rains, Janine Licare, Jennifer Bido, Emma Cobert and Stephanie Chan
"… then you realize, you are hardcore, you are unassailable – you are a Muscovite!"
Moscow is exactly the kind of place that prompts the “Remember when…" conversations. Russian culture is a huge departure from American or even Western European culture, and the shock and inevitable falling in love with it always brings foreigners together. If you choose to go to Moscow, there is no doubt there will never be a dull moment. Moscow is a fast-paced city, but the ANE program enables students to navigate it and take advantage of its resources. I was matched with the perfect host family, who truly made Moscow feel like home to me – my host mom fed me lovingly and endlessly and my host sister gave me great recommendations to art exhibitions. Nothing compares to the victorious feeling of sampling Moscow’s limitless art scene, holding a conversation in Russian with someone next to you on the metro, and bar hopping until 5:30am when the metro reopens – then you realize, you are hardcore, you are unassailable – you are a Muscovite!
Shine Zaw-Aung, Stanford University, 2009
"Above all, I enjoyed the unpredictability and charm that defined my Moscow."
I don’t think I will ever be able to accurately describe actually living in Moscow. There, the world is practically at your doorstep, and it is a cheap, accessible world at that. When people say Moscow is expensive, they are referring to houses, cars, and other luxury items. Food and other bare necessities are cheaper than in any Western capital. You can go to any museum for less than ten dollars and to any theatre for less than thirty. One of my fondest Russian moments was seeing Prokofiev’s The Gambler at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre for 1000 rubles (around $33 dollars) — which was perhaps a tenth of what I would have had to pay if I attempted to get equally good seats at other renowned opera houses.
Grant Newman, Brignam Young University, 2009
"… my understanding of, appreciation for, and connection with the people themselves grew in entirely unanticipated ways"
I consider my experience with ANE to be absolutely rewarding. Fulfilling an internship through ANE opened my eyes to the elaborate beauty, rich truth, and endless possibilities of Russia and its traditions. By immersing myself in the society, I transcended the inherent boundaries presupposed by stereotypes and explored the culture's vast dimensions, receiving such insight that only comes from first-hand participation. Even more important than developing marketable skills or obtaining ever-beneficial real- world experience, my understanding of, appreciation for, and connection with the people themselves grew in entirely unanticipated ways. This truly is the preeminent way for earnest students to study contemporary Russia.
Adam Bloodworth, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2008
"…a country and culture that is completely misrepresented in America"
To me, the ANE Summer program was an invaluable experience, and one that not only taught me language skills, but also about a country and culture that is completely unknown and/or misrepresented in America. The program itself was helpful, providing both intensive classes and excursions to important, historical landmarks, but the true gem of the experience is simply living in Moscow. The Russian capital has more culturally-engrossing activities than can possibly be covered in a single trip, from a stroll around Red Square at dusk to parks inhabited by fire-and-baton-wielding teenagers. I would highly recommend this program to anyone seeking to improve language skills, wanting to discover a truly unique culture, and to those that are excited by the adventure and challenge that living in such a different setting provides. I highly enjoyed this program and my time in Moscow.
Carolyn Forstein, Stanford University, 2008
"… a country… which is truly on the opposite side of the world"
The Stanford in Moscow program is a fantastic introduction to a city and country with a long cultural and historical heritage and which is truly on the opposite side of the world. I studied in Moscow in the fall of 2008, and arrived in Moscow in early September, having never taken a Russian class before. The intensive three-week Russian language program offered to beginning speakers before the start of the quarter, is an ideal way to learn a new language and immediately throw what you learn in class into practical use – be it navigating the Moscow metro or attempting to read a street sign. One of the best things about the program is how much it fully immerses you in the life and culture of Russia. While in Moscow, I lived with a university teacher, Larisa, and her mother, Nina, and over the course of three months talked about everything – in a mix of English and Russian – from their family history, including a grandfather who had attended the post-WWII conference at Yalta, to religion and politics in modern Russia.
Katherine Hoffman, Stanford University, 2007
"… Russia is both one of the most stereotyped and the most misunderstood nations in the world"
For most Americans, Russia is both one of the most stereotyped and the most misunderstood nations in the world; as such, I really encourage students to take advantage of the chance to experience it for themselves! Moscow is an incredibly dynamic and interesting city, and it has something for everyone - whether their interests lie in art, literature, history, politics, or even dance. It is a mix of cultures and eras, with tiny orthodox churches vying for attention with Soviet-era monuments, and immigrants from all over the Former Soviet Union sharing the streets with the designer label-wearing nouveau riche. Since the city can be a bit difficult to navigate for foreigners at first, I found that the program really helped me by teaching me the language, politics, and history that enabled me to decode what was happening around me. Living with a host family and interacting with residents of the city also provided an excellent introduction to the so-called pусская душа – the "Russian soul" – which captivates so many foreign visitors and leaves them unable to forget the people they met and the experiences they had in Russia.
Erik Adams, Stanford University, 2007
"...there is no better place to spend a summer or semester"
Moscow is a truly amazing and unique city. Like any huge city, there is no shortage of museums, restaurants, bars, clubs, concerts, and events to attend, but in Moscow things are just different. The history and vitality of the city really comes through and can make just walking down the street a fascinating and fun experience. And the Russians themselves are amazing, wonderful people, whose live-for-the-moment attitude not only will make every night unforgettable, but help teach you how to get fun and joy out of life that you didn't even know you were missing. Really, everything about the city is amazing, and there is no better place to spend a summer or semester!
Rebecca Gong, Harvard University, 2006
"Everyone at ANE went above and beyond what I would ever have expected of ‘program personnel’; our safety and happiness were clearly not just aspects of their jobs, but their personal concerns."
My experience in Moscow was absolutely unforgettable. Not only did I finally get to immerse myself in one of the greatest cultures in the world, but I also came away with lifelong friends and a permanent membership in the “ANE family.” For a city as big and exciting as Moscow, no one made it feel more like home than the wonderful people at the Academy of National Economy summer program. I obviously come from an ethnic minority group when it comes to Russia, and before departure I was honestly quite worried for my safety after reading the Department of State notices about terrorism and random metro bombings. I remember being afraid to even walk around my first few days. Soon, however, I realized that I was in a big and vibrant city not unlike any other I had formerly lived in, and that while it was necessary to be aware and cautious, it was also necessary to not be afraid to explore and live the Muscovite life to its fullest.
Matt Ybarra, Stanford University, 2006
If you are looking for adventure, challenge, and something that will spice up your life and provide you with enough "culture shock" stories to last a lifetime, then Moscow is the place to go. As an American-born Russian, growing up experiencing aspects of Russian culture and speaking the language had provided me only so much exposure to actual Russian life. While in Moscow, I came to realize that there is no better way to experience and truly comprehend the magnificence and the misery of the Russian nation, both historically and presently, than to completely immerse yourself with the people in their own environment. What struck me most about Russian people is how open (read: blunt) they are with each other, even with complete strangers. They definitely speak their minds and very rarely are things taken personally. Pushing and shoving in crowded metro stations or buses bring no hard feelings. Russians feel free to tell you if you are not dressed warm enough for the weather. In a collective society which is still very much a part of the Russian culture, everybody's business is also everyone else's.
Larisa Lehmer, Stanford University, 2006
"…an experience of a lifetime"
My stay in Moscow under the auspices of the Stanford in Moscow program was an experience of a lifetime. Staying with a host family allowed me to see how people live from day to day. For example: how they determine what meat and produce to buy at the market, the fact that clothes are line-dried to conserve energy, how real Russian food tastes and is prepared (the family I stayed with did not use a microwave), and (due to the sky-rocketing prices in the city) how industriously they make the most out of everything they own. I went to dozens of concerts which were absolutely exquisite and very affordable due to the substantial support the government provides to prosper the talent of the country's finest ballet, opera, and orchestral groups. There is so much history in Moscow and its environs. Our excursions included a tour of the Kremlin, a trip to St. Petersburg with its imperial architecture and world-famous Hermitage museum, a day-trip to the small, nearby towns of Vladimir and Suzdal featuring all-wooden buildings and horse-drawn sleigh rides, and so much more.
Ross Perlin, Stanford University, 2005
"Moscow… one of the most inscrutable cities in the world"
Moscow, where I went to try to understand the many remarkable struggles and achievements of Russian civilization, has to be one of the most inscrutable cities in the world. The three months I spent there at the Center were a remarkable entry into Russian society and a unique opportunity to study in a place where richness of culture and complexity of present-day issues are both constant realities. Moscow was a point of departure, but the reach of the Stanford Center took us everywhere, from the hyper-refined elegance of St. Petersburg to the minarets of Bukhara in Uzbekistan. One professor, a top-drawer scholar of Islam in Russia, took us through St. Petersburg’s stunning museums on a private tour – seeing fantastic finds of Russian explorers everywhere from Alaska and Northern California to Central Asia brings home the universalism of Russian civilization. The Hermitage isn’t bad either. Another professor, an expert on security issues who is routinely featured on Russian TV, casually told stories of meeting Siberian shamans and Turkmen bureaucrats.
Eric Chow, Stanford University, 2005
"…not going back after visiting Russia is a real challenge"
You know it’s interesting. I had spontaneously chosen to go to Russia when there were other countries that I could have visited. I mean, at least I would have known how to say more than “toilet” and “borsch.” With my two words of Russian (one being a beet soup), I was nervous and excited to explore this new town. One of the first things I learned was that textbooks don’t teach you the etiquette of the metro. My most fond and exciting memories of Moscow are centralized around the life under ground. Perhaps taking the metro in Washington DC or New York is merely a ride, but in Moscow, it’s a culture completely secluded from the upper ground which seems to have evolved into a life of its own. I’ve learned two very important things: I realized that saying “izvinitiye,” the Russian word for excuse me, was just not going to get you to where you needed to go.
Andrew Chen, Stanford University, 2005
"The best experiences … came from taking chances with people"
The best experiences I had in Moscow came from taking chances with people. No, from the first glance (and maybe even up to the tenth), Muscovite Russians don't appear to be the most friendly. But glancing isn't enough: I had to put myself out there to discover that some of them are more than ready to be friends. I saw that several ping-pong tables were set up in the basement of MGIMO's athletic building, so I decided that I'd try to join them. I didn't even know how to say "ball" and "racket" in Russian, so you can imagine it wasn't easy borrowing them. Yet once I got up the nerve to ask someone to play, Sasha and I became immediate friends. We met every week and played for an hour or more, and we talked about different things in between trying to one-up each other. It wasn't always smooth sailing, of course, Muscovites speak fast and it was hard to understand him, but ping-pong was our common link, so there never was a dull moment. There were other instances of my finding a friend when I didn't mind embarrassing myself a little bit. Letting your pride down a little is probably the best way to connect with another person.
Cassandra E. Cuellar, Stanford University, Spring quarter 2004
"Russia … 3 months there was definitely not enough"
Russia was AMAZING! A few people I met there are people that I cannot imagine not having in my life today. I plan to go back to visit the friends I made once I finish college and to travel more around the country, since I loved my traveling experiences in Russia-- 3 months there was definitely not enough. Prior to college, I had never left the United States, and I cannot imagine what life would be like had I never gone abroad. My view of the world was very limited, since all my life was spent in California and everything I knew of the world came from textbooks. My experience with my host family was one of the main reasons I loved being in Russia so much. My host sister was the best. She knew the city and had friends that I was able to meet and enjoy Moscow with. Furthermore, my host mother cooked amazing meals that I still miss to this day (I’ve tried making some of the meals she made, and my cooking can’t compare!). We lived in a large building, something new considering I’m from a farm, so that was a new experience in itself that I would have never gotten had I not studied in Russia.
Johnny Falla, Stanford University, Spring quarter 2004
In the photo: Johnny (center, upper row) and the lovely men on the Spring 2004 program in front of the Tsar Bell at the Kremlin
"Russia has changed me forever."
Russia has changed me forever – for better or worse, it's too early to tell, haha. My world is a different place now, and I possess a valuable perspective few of my peers will ever have. The things I saw and did would shock you – from the mundane to the wildly absurd. This place is nothing else you have ever seen. The image of Moscow as a bleak, cold concrete city is actually a lie – this place is bursting with energy and creativity, and the people are edgy and dynamic. To come to Moscow is to challenge yourself, and challenge your understanding of the world. The city itself is a mystery, a big riddle to crack, and once you begin to break down the social barriers and stereotypes that define it from the outside, your reward will be great as you finally feel at home, earning a place in the city that for so long was off limits to us. Sure, you can have a great impression of Moscow by passing through or reading up on it, but submitting yourself to the city and letting it reshape you is a journey you will never forget – and certainly, it's not an adventure for the faint of heart.
J Michael Sulmeyer, Stanford University, 2002
"My experience in Moscow has served me well in my professional ventures."
My journey to Moscow in September of 2000 was my first time traveling outside of the United States alone. The program took excellent care of me, from meeting me at the airport with a friendly sign to arranging an excellent home-stay environment and providing a strong academic experience. Everyone went to Murmansk, some ventured through Siberia, while others made it to Minsk, but every student was provided with countless opportunities to explore Russia and the surrounding regions. For me, the capstone of the experience was a private military history tutorial with the chief of military history from the Russian Ministry of Defense. As a youngster who grew up reading about the Great Patriotic War and imagining what it must have been like to visit the land of the Tsars, this tutorial provided a unique insight into understanding Russia and her military. In addition to classroom sessions, we went to several military museums around Moscow that I would have been unable to understand fully without guidance and language help.
Haim Zaltzman, Stanford University, 2001
"Moscow in general, it is sensational city."
I attended the Stanford in Moscow Program during the Fall of 1999. The program not only introduced me to Moscow, a city that I will continue to enjoy socially for many years to come, but also introduced me to the multitude of business, political, and social issues that are unique to Russian studies. The classes I took during that time in Moscow, including Russian political economy, Russian economic structures, and Russian language and literature, ushered me into a career focused on Russian economic and legal development. The professors and instructors employed by the Stanford Program are top notch; truly individuals who knew their subjects and passionately studied their fields. My Russian language abilities skyrocketed during my time at the Stanford Program, in large part thanks to the efforts of the Stanford Program. Furthermore, the subjects I studied in Moscow became the foundation of not only my honors thesis at Stanford (post-Soviet economic development), but also my tenure as a Fulbright Scholar in Russia following my undergraduate career.