moskva5 A Macedonian girl in Moscow   Matryoshka dolls, Moscow by neiljs@flickr

Author: Marija Arsovska

“What a cold, cloudy and unwelcoming country it is, and by that I’m also referring to the people living here” – was the sentence I used to tell my mother in first year of studies in Moscow, Russia.

Coming to spend my university years in Moscow was never my dream, but it all happened very spontaneously and now I’m so glad I didn’t miss my opportunity.

At my first year at high school I chose Russian as my second foreign language just because I knew I wouldn’t have to do anything to get great marks, “and not that I would ever need it in life” – I told myself. But life follows its strange paths and in no time I was already in my last year at high school and that was when I met my new Russian language teacher who gave me my ticket to see the world. Thanks to her and the support of my family, especially my mother, by the end of the year, after my graduation I got a scholarship and was treading on the Russian soil at the Sheremetyevo International Airport.

I spent my first year in Moscow learning Russian, because I hadn’t spoken it for the last four years at home, and getting familiar with Russian culture and Russian people (who came out to be far more difficult and unpleasant).

In Russia, 2 of 10 people know English, 1 of 10 people would stop if you ask them for some directions and only half of them will listen to you and try to help you.

But that actually wasn’t the problem; after all, you are the one that needs help so you’ll ask a hundred people if you have to. The biggest problem I had was the dormitory and the staff working there. When I first walked in the corridor on my floor I thought I was visiting some ruins left after the war and the room was nothing better. I spent the first week pitying myself, but shortly after the courses were about to begin and things started to look better. With understanding teachers and classmates from all over the world in the same position as you, you can easily find your place under the sun.

Apart from going to classes, I spent my time visiting the Red Square, the Kremlin, churches, museums, shops, old architecture buildings, and just walking the streets of Moscow and trying to feel the spirit. Everything was so big, so beautiful, so loud, and I was part of it, – that was one of the things that kept me going. By the end of the spring semester I already spoke Russian fluently, as my mother tongue is Macedonian language, and had friends from all over the world except from Russia.

Read the full article

Author :