This was perhaps the best semester of my time in college. March 09, 2020

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/31/2019 to 12/18/2019 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Irkutsk

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained an amazing cultural experiences and enhanced my language skills. It was definitely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academic experience was less intense in terms of homework. Tests had about the same level of difficulty as those at home.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

It was an amazing experience, plain and simple.

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent an average of 400(?) rubles a week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? No.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Advanced Low Russian
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? No.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • travel to Olkhon
  • travel to Arshan
  • the fact that I was in Siberia
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? N/A

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Sociology (Mainstream)

Course Department: MIEL
Instructor: Maria Plotnikova
Instruction Language: Russian
Comments: It was not challending. I was assessed based on assignments and presentations. The teacher was knowledgeable in the field. Though I started later in the semester, having changed from another, I have attended all remaining classes.
Credit Transfer Issues: No difficulty was apparent.
Course Name/Rating:

Russian

Course Department: MIEL
Instructor: Ekaterina Nepomnyashchikh
Instruction Language: Russian
Comments: This was perhaps the most challenging course in the semester, but it still was not too difficult. We didn't have field trips for the course. She is knowledgeable and well-prepared for the class. We were graded based on how we do on assignments and tests. I attended all classes.
Credit Transfer Issues: No difficulty was apparent.
Course Name/Rating:

Post-Soviet History

Course Department: MIEL (International Institute of Economics and Linguistics)
Instructor: Maria Plotnikova
Instruction Language: Russian
Comments: It was not challenging. It was a discussion-based course in which we were evaluated based on assignments. The instructor was knowledgeable in the field. I attended all classes, though was late once.
Credit Transfer Issues: No difficulty was apparent.
Course Name/Rating:

Baikal Ecology and NGOs

Course Department: EcoCenter
Instructor: Maksim Vorontsov
Instruction Language: Russian
Comments: It was not particularly challenging. Professors were well-prepared, and engaged with us often on our trips (like to Olkhon). I participated in all classes. We were assessed based on our knowledge of the material, in the form of tests and an essay.
Credit Transfer Issues: No difficulty was apparent.