So, the new semester has begun! We have a wide variety of new students. There are new students from the University of Kansas, Notre Dame, Georgetown and West Point.
It is exciting to see the various levels at which they speak Russian. When I came, I am certain, my Russian was worst than most of theirs. But to imagine how far I've come, in just a few months, is pretty invigorating.
Also, to see what they struggle with (i.e. life with a family that you had never seen, until you arrived) is also pretty funny. Russia is one very big "growing experience" on several levels!
I have a new classes this semester: writing. It looks as though it should be a great class.
I have the same teachers as last semester, which is a blessing. All of the teachers are true professionals. To teach Russian to a foreigner must be the most stressful job in the world... But they are always so patient and helpful. They all understand what areas of the language are the most difficult for us.
Also (remember the classes are taught only in Russian) the teachers are temendously skilled at explaining difficult concepts of the language, using vocabulary that can be understood by the students.
I am also pleased that our Residential Director, Tom, is back. I went with Tom and the new group as they toured the city on their second day here. He showed them the Post Office, the school, the bus stops, the train station, etc. He spent hours with them and answered all of their questions and concerns... As he had done when we arrived in September.
Tom is also tremendously patient. Seeing as how he is forced to deal with such minutia everyday (i.e. "My host lady makes me eat too much, what should I do?") I am impressed that he manages to sincerely answer everyones' questions.
Tom also gets to deal with students who may very well not be too prepared for life in Russia (i.e. "Tom, I need to buy a coat. I didn't think it was going to be so cold in Russia.") The patience he has is remarkable.
Tom also tried to convince me to go to the hospital after getting mugged. Actually, Tom has been asking me how I am doing for everyday of the past week.
Tom deserves a medal.
In other news, I am trying to find an internship for this semester here in Vladimir. I will let you all know how the search goes.