Story written by Julia Diamond, NPTS, ’17
For me, Russian language has been a key to answering many questions about the relationship between Russian and Soviet societies and their domestic and foreign policies. Aside from always having a Russian gymnastics coach and ballet teachers, I became especially motivated to learn Russian after participating in a Russian ballet summer intensive in 2009. While we found ways to communicate, I always wanted to be able to understand and speak their language to discover what to me were secrets of their culture and outlook.
Story by Matt Levie, MPA, ’18
When I was young, every day after school I would take the bus all the way across New York City to the Mid-Manhattan Library downtown, because on the third floor they had language textbooks. At my school there was a pretty good language program; you could learn French, Spanish, German or Latin, but I was fascinated by exotic languages that people don’t usually learn in American schools. I dabbled in Romanian, Welsh, Japanese, Swahili and Russian.
Story by Noah Mayhew, Dual degree NPTS (MIIS/MGIMO), ’18
I started learning to speak Russian in kind of an ironic, organic fashion. I met my best friend during my first year of college and she was born in a small town in the Smolensk region of Russia.
Story written by Kathryn Smart, NPTS, ’17
While living in Chechnya, it was common for me to be walking down the street and suddenly hear deep voices yelling something in my direction. Sometimes it was someone asking for directions or yelling at me for breaking social norms.
Story taken from interview with Kuanysh Agaidarov, IPD, ’18; Written by K. Throgmorton
Growing up in Kazakhstan, most of Kuanysh’s language learning happened in university, supplemented by his study in the English as a Second Language program at the Institute last year. He grew up speaking Kazakh and Russian, his studies at school and university were also in Kazakh and Russian; as a result, he has a strong command of those languages.