Lackluster Past Review

By (Texas A&M University - College Station) - abroad from 05/25/2017 to 08/03/2017 with

SRAS: Study Russian as a Second Language

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
A stronger grasp of the grammar. I think it was worth it. I also found a stray dog and ended up bringing him home. He's asleep at my feet as I write this. Taking him on walks while still in Russia helped me to meet and talk to a lot of different locals. I also learned technical vocabulary for veterinarians and the government agency dealing with live exports.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Students were placed in inappropriate classes for their level, and the first month was essentially wasted. For the first month, my class had two teachers who switched off every other day and rarely seemed to have a coherent lesson plan or a way of connecting previously taught material.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

See above. Students were in the wrong classes for their level.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I found my own accommodations

* Food:

There is food in Moscow.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had previously lived in the city and was already fully integrated with the local culture and population as a result.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

It seemed like any students with health concerns were well taken care of.

* Safety:

Moscow felt very safe.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I didn't feel like the on-site aspect of the program was well-organized, particularly with the teachers at Moscow State University. The first month was, in my opinion, wasted. Our new teacher after the first month was very good, though.


* 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)

I lived with my boyfriend, who is a native of the country in which I was studying. We split costs and it was affordable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100 split between two people.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook your own food. You can buy super cheap ramen at Ashan in Russia.


* 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

We could only speak Russian in class. However, the events organized outside of class were largely in English.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? N/A. I'm self-taught.
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? Make friends with the locals, find a good soap opera on tv, and go to live music events. When you visit museums, don't use the English translation headsets for the exhibits. Read the local newspapers.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • The organized cultural events
* What could be improved?
  • Better organized lesson plans
  • Encourage language use outside of class
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That my apartment in Ramenki was a 40 minute walk to the University....

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'