Intensive But Fun Past Review

By (Linguistics, The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 07/04/2015 to 08/09/2015 with

University of Texas - Austin: Moscow - Moscow Plus Summer Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The experience was absolutely worthwhile. Along with the obvious language skills, I learned a lot about Russian attitudes and casual interaction, and gained confidence from navigating and interacting with strangers in Moscow.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes were difficult due to being entirely in Russian, but professors (at Moscow International University) always had a good understanding of our abilities and challenged us accordingly. The few textbooks we needed were provided.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There was some disorganization and spotty communication at the start of the program, resulting in changing schedules and uncertainty about access and due dates for the online portion of the program. However, program administrators worked with us and everything was resolved.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dorm was safe, comfortable, and clean. Construction was loud but only happened during reasonable hours.

* Food:

Breakfast and lunch were served at the university on weekdays; food was never in short supply and the cafeteria workers were always helpful (especially as I'm vegetarian and sometimes needed to ask about the dishes). There was a stipend for dinners and weekend meals; it wasn't enough to fully cover food expenses but was unexpected and useful.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no direct experience with healthcare.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe in Moscow, even while alone or lost; I only experienced harassment once and was never followed, threatened, or stolen from. I would of course still advise other students to not travel alone while still getting used to the city, and to guard their valuables and travel carefully at night as they would in any major city, but in my experience Moscow was extremely safe, especially for its size.

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


* 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)

It would have been easier to spend less if there were kitchen facilities in the dorm; having to eat out fairly often was my largest expense.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? As much as possible, buy groceries and make food at home instead of eating out.


* 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

Classes were completely in Russian and only Russian is allowed on the university campus. There was also conversation with tutors (and with staff at any outside venue and while on a river cruise).

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Russian II
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? Russians speak fast, so listen to radio and watch movies as often as possible to get yourself up to speed. Practice watching and reading things that you know are above your level; you'll learn some vocabulary, but also learn to extrapolate from whatever clues you can pick up, which is often more important than understanding everything in the first place.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • Patient and engaging professors
  • Location
* What could be improved?
  • Organization
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Russian classes are more interactive than the average American class, especially small classes.

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!