Sitting here it’s hard to realize that I only have three days left in Yaroslavl. The year has really gone fast, and left lasting impressions. I have been able to truly settle in Yaroslavl, and I will always have a place, and more importantly, people to return to here.
It was difficult in the beginning, warm days in September, struggling with the language and lack of social life, being the only non-Middlebury student around. But that was only the beginning. By the time I left for Christmas I was comfortable with Russian, I had friends to spend time with, and had built a comfortable lifestyle here.
In the spring I was already busy, sometimes tired, and definitely in my own place. My life hasn’t been the typical experience for exchange students, with partying in international company and staying up every night. Instead it has been real, normal life. Teaching, studying, spending time with local friends. Of that, I’m glad.
I want to thank the girls in the international office for their help, especially in the beginning, my teacher for interesting lessons and understanding, when my homework was undone because of some story or another…
Yaroslavl has been the second place I built my home too, and it will forever remain that. It has inspired love to the country, language and people which will never die,. It has shown me, that I can and will survive wherever I want to. I will be back.
For those who come here after me, have courage. It can be difficult, but go, do, speak, mingle. It gets easier every time, and soon you’ll be doing it without even realizing it. And enjoy.