My interest in Russia is no surprise - I was born and spent my childhood in Minsk, Belarus, and Russian is my native language. After immigrating to the United States at the age of thirteen, I was determined to learn to speak English as a native and adopt American culture as my own. Unfortunately, in the process of becoming American, I lost much of what had previously defined me, including my native fluency and feeling for the Russian language. While completing my B.A. in economics at Pomona College, I studied Chinese and loved my semester abroad in China. But it was not until I joined a small Russian-speaking community that I realized how much I had been missing my Russian roots.
I hope that during my time in Kazan I can not only improve my understanding of economic transition and help the community through volunteer work, but also experience the multi-ethnic environment of this unique city, regain my understanding of the Russian culture, and learn to speak Russian like a native again.