The easiest and hardest time in my life so far Past Review

By (French Language and Literature., Baylor University) - abroad from 09/02/2013 to 12/13/2013 with

Voronezh State University: Voronezh - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that people are people everywhere and there is not right or wrong way to think, live or act. It was definitely worthwhile

Review Photos

Voronezh State University: Voronezh - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Voronezh State University: Voronezh - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Voronezh State University: Voronezh - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Voronezh State University: Voronezh - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Voronezh State University: Voronezh - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

It was very different from the course load I usually have at Baylor, but even though it wasn't very work intensive, my grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and speaking abilities greatly improved.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our program administrator was awesome! He loves Baylor and Americans and was very helpful. He was the first person to greet us at the train station and one of the last people to say good-bye.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mom was awesome! She was a a very good cook and took care of me as if I were her daughter. She didn't speak very much English, but she would make me repeat words in Russian and English to make sure I understood her. I had my own room and my own key. Maria was the best!

* Food:

Russian food is very plain and most times bland. I ate stuff there I normally don't eat in the States and they didn't give many options for seasoning. The food wasn't horrible, and I actually enjoy a few dishes, but most times dinner wasn't something I necessarily looked forward to. Luckily they had a KFC, McDonalds and Subway nearby and various other restaurants to choose from

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I went out a lot with the other international students. When I meet Russians for the most part they were nice and happy to have someone to practice their English with.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

While I was there I kept getting bit by bugs. My host mom insists it was bed bugs but the times I saw something it looked like a flea ( we would cat-sit for her neighbors sometimes) Luckily there are pharmancies everywhere so I was able to get what I needed. Also Baylor makes you buy international healthcare before you go abroad so I knew I would be fine if I needed it.

* Safety:

For the most part I felt very safe. I always carried an knife and a taser in my pockets or purse. In the beginning the guys in our group would walk us girls home whenever it was late. But eventually as we all got more comfortable with the city and didn't go out together all the time, I would walk home by myself. I was stopped by a drunk man once but other people intervened and I just hurried home. I would say that the city it safe, but at night you have to be aware of your surroundings and don't draw attention to yourself, especially if you are alone.

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)

My host mom cooked 2 meals a day and did my laundry so I had a lot of spending money

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Bring more money than you intend on spending. I had a big budget and didn't keep track of how much I actually spent. I would say make a weekly budget and once you've spent that money for the week, don't keep taking out more. If you have money left over from the week before then that becomes more money to spend the next week


* 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

I'm a Rusian major who took half of my Russian classes in Russian, lived with a Russian woman who spoke very little English and made friends with Russian people so that I could practice. That being said, I still spoke a lot of English

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
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? 2nd year
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 a point to talk to your host family at least at breakfast and dinner. Also, when you are out with international friends, take at least 1 hour during that time to only speak Russian with each other. When you meet Russians, they will want to practice their English with you so make it a point to answer them in Russian or ask if half your time together can be in Russian and the other half in English so that you both get to practice.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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?
  • being and international student
  • going to Moscow, St. Pete's and Kislovodsk
  • the freedom
* What could be improved?
  • organization
  • pre-depature communication
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew more of the history so that I could appreciate and understand how amazing it is to visit those monuments and palaces and museums that are older than many of the famous places in the States