Grace Ingle ’20 is a Middle Eastern Studies major spending the fall 2018 semester on the Dickinson-in-Moscow program. She also spent summer 2018 on the Dickinson summer program, where students split their time between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Here’s what she says about her time so far as a student in Russia:
What has been the biggest surprise so far?
My biggest surprise when I arrived in Russia this past summer was this sense of living history the city has. On one block, for example, one can see various architectural styles reflecting the Czarist, Soviet, and modern periods. I think many other aspects of the city reflect a similar juxtaposition of eras. I was also surprised by how important Russian literature really is to modern culture. Young people regularly go to the theater to see shows of classic Russian stories, and there’s even a national holiday for Pushkin’s birthday.
Tell us something about your host family.
I live with my host mother, Tamara, and her beautiful cat. She has traveled quite a lot, and sometimes we have interesting talks about travel over dinner. She gives very good advice in these chats too!
How would you describe Moscow to somebody who has never been there?
Moscow is an incredibly clean city with a metro system like no other. The public transport makes it easy to get anywhere in the city, and there are so many things to do. The museums are impeccable, and there are endless opportunities to attend free events, from concerts to outdoor yoga to ballroom dancing. One of my favorite things about Moscow is its incredible parks, which are a great place to relax in such a big urban center.
What is your favorite class and why?
My favorite class so far is Russia Today with Professor Dominic Rubin. We have had some really great discussions about our class materials, but we have also incorporated our own observations of and experiences in Moscow. The course has already taught me about Russian history in the context of modern society, and the course content tends to connect well with other courses I’ve taken.
What are you looking forward to later on in the semester?
I am most looking forward to our group trips to St. Petersburg and Georgia. It’s always fun when we have excursions as a group within Moscow, so I am excited to explore new places together. I’m also looking forward to seeing the city in winter, as I hear that it gets beautifully decorated in anticipation of Christmas.