An American Student in Russia




divine head over come/came/come
offer major (3) see/saw/seen
skill senior (3) find/found/found (2)
offer figure out meet/met/met
accent pronounce stuck with it
right (5) certain (2) say/said/said
hard (2) go out (2) make/made/made
academy straight (2) speak/spoke/spoken
ballet compose Ferris wheel
quit scholarship lost/lost/lost
stuck (2) couple (2) go/went/gone
bit (2) department know/knew/known
graduate all over (3) leave/left/left (2)
tram background read/read/read
hop convenient strong/stronger/strongest
hop on public (2) take/took/taken
route award (2) public transportation
option notorious good/better/best
van guess (2) cost/cost/cost
skip (2) figure (3) grow/grew/grown (3)
separate develop (2) think/thought/thought (2)






Good morning. My name is Sidney Divine. I’m from Anchorage, Alaska. I’m here in Krasnodar, at Kuban State University studying Russian language.

Come see my class.

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I guess first, I graduated from Grinnell College with a major in Russian. And I wanted to continue to develop my Russian language skills.

Our school has the Moynihan Award, which they offer to all of their graduating seniors that have studied Russian.

I live with all foreign students, so I’m meeting people from all over the world. And that part is great — I love culture; I like to learn about other places.

In the classroom, sometimes I do wish there was more Russian right with the accent: there are so many different accents.

That can make it hard when you are listening to another student pronounce a word a certain way. You want to copy it, but maybe it’s not the correct Russian way to say something.

So that can be hard.

Also it’s difficult to make friends with Russians because I’m always with international students; and we all speak English.

And I’m here to learn Russian, so that’s been something I’ve been working on — going out and meeting Russians and trying to speak Russian with Russians rather than speaking English with all the international students.

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So we’re at a park that’s near the university. And we’re headed straight over here to the Ferris wheel.

I started ballet when I was 11, in Anchorage, Alaska. And when I was 13, I was offered a scholarship to study at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C.

So I went there for the next three years, where all my instructors were from the Bizanazus School in St. Petersburg, Russia. And they all spoke Russian — the whole school was very Russian.

And so I was introduced to the culture, and I learned a couple words like xarasho, and you heard that you knew you were doing something right.

And so that’s where I was introduced to the culture.

Then I quit ballet; I left. And I had nothing to do with Russian, until I went to college, where I started studying the Russian language, my first year there.

And I really liked the department, and I really liked what we were reading and everything. So I stuck with it and graduated with a major in Russian.

I really didn’t know all that much. I had read about World War Two, somewhat. So I knew a little bit about the history of St. Petersburg, and I knew a lot about the ballet, the history of the ballet and the history of composers in Russia.

And so that was my strongest background; it was ballet.

I’m really happy here; I really like it.

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All the time, I take the tram to get to the center of the city; I take it to go shopping; anywhere.

It’s really convenient to hop on, and you don’t have to wait on traffic. The tramway routes are separate.

Well in Alaska, our public transportation isn’t very good. We do have a bus system, but it’s notorious for always being late. Here it’s nice to have the option between a tramway, a bus or the mashrutkas, which are small little vans that cost a little bit more, but they’re very fast and can skip routes if no one needs to stop.

So the public transportation here is very good.

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I really like to live here. I’ve met lots of very friendly people. I’ve found this city to be very friendly.

If I’m lost, it’s very easy to ask people for directions too. And a lot of times they’ll walk me to where I need to go.

It’s a different culture.

There’s so much to learn about the history of Russia, and the culture. It’s just a very different experience, and I think it’s only helped me to grow as a person and to help me figure out.

What it is I want to do in the future, and what I want to do with Russia, with Russian language skills. And I think Russian language skills are important for everyone.

Everyone should know how to speak a second language and Russian is a great second language to learn.

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Street, Boulevard. Who is this person? Where is she from? Where is she now?

Block. She lives with a Russian host family. Is this true or false? Who does she live with?

Taxi. Does Sidney have lots of Russians friends? Is it easy for her to make friends with Russians? Are there advantages to living with international students?

City Bus, Public Bus. What happens if she gets lost?

Tramway, Streetcar, Trolley. How did she first become exposed to Russia and the Russian language?

City Train. You need a car to survive in Krasnodar. Is this correct or incorrect?

Subway, Metro, Underground. The locals are xenophobic. They despise and are suspicious of foreigners. Is this right or wrong?

Downtown, City Center. Does Sidney feel at home in Krasnodar? Has this been a positive or negative experience for her? Does she believe Americans should only speak English?
City Square, Plaza. I have studied abroad. Yes or no? Do you know anyone who has studied abroad? Did many of your classmates study abroad? What happened? What was it like?

Fountain. What are some popular destinations for students from your country?

Statue. My colleagues and I have attended seminars, conferences, workshops, trade fairs and exhibitions (abroad). True or false?

Museum. My friends and I would like to study, attend or take courses, seminars, conferences and workshops in other countries. Yes or no? If yes, where would you like to go, and what would you like to study?

Cathedral, Church. Do many foreigners study in your city? Are there international students in your city? Where do they come from? What do they study?

Ministry, Government Building, Bureau. Student exchange programs provide great experiences; all students should study abroad. Do you agree?

Market, Marketplace. What will happen in the future?

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