Harry Qiu ’20 is a junior Russian and International Studies double major who is currently finishing up the final weeks of the fall 2018 semester in Moscow. He told us a bit about his experiences studying on the Dickinson-in-Moscow program.
What is your favorite course?
Russia Today with Prof. Dominic Rubin. Russia Today has taught me a lot of things I didn’t know about this country, including about ethnicity, gender, religion, and domestic conflicts (Caucasus), all of which are very interesting. The research opportunity for the final paper is also very valuable. My favorite Russian language course is ЯСМИ (mass media)—not only because the instructor is Irina (the Moscow program director), but also because after this course I can actually understand the news in Russian pretty well!
What was your favorite experience in Russia so far?
The trip to Kazan. Kazan has a strong Islamic culture and is so different from Moscow and St. Petersburg. We got to visit many museums and mosques. It was very exciting to connect what we saw in Kazan to what we are learning in Russia Today.
Tell us something about your host family.
My host mom is Annie’s (another Dickinson student) host mom’s daughter-in-law. She works but regularly visits her dacha (country home) and travels a lot. She loves painting (color- filling pictures) and she hangs her paintings on the house’s walls. I live quite far away from the university, in a suburb district (Отрадное) of Moscow. My neighborhood is very quiet and it gives me a completely different feeling from my summer experience on the Dickinson summer program, when I lived in the center of Moscow (Курсская). It takes me 45 minutes to get to school every day. I walk about 10 minutes to the metro station and then travel 6 stations by metro. I am from Shanghai, China so the Moscow metro system did not really surprise me.
What has been the biggest challenge for you about studying abroad?
I would have answered this question differently if you had asked me a few weeks ago. Now for me, the biggest challenge is balancing everything. There are so many projects which require a lot of time to finish and we have some weekend trips coming up. I would say that compared to other study abroad programs, the Moscow program is the busiest in terms of the academic program and the trips that Irina organizes for us ( I love it!)
What would you say to students who are considering studying in Moscow?
If you are studying Russian and have the opportunity to study in Moscow, there is no reason for you to not take it! Not only is it a great language learning experience, but it is also a great cultural learning experience, to live and study like a Russian!