Edie the Student
"When I came to CLS to study third-year Russian in the summer of 2005, I had a strong foundation in the language but lacked the necessary confidence to converse with native Russian speakers. While the intensive language learning environment was a dramatic change from my undergraduate Russian courses, I quickly adapted to the fast pace and rose to the challenges the program provided. That summer, I made significant breakthroughs in my Russian language skills: I went from timidly observing the conversations of teachers and fellow students to, in a matter of weeks, becoming an active participant. Not only was I being equipped with the skills to communicate and express myself in Russian, I was also accumulating a great deal of cultural knowledge through the work with cartoons, songs and films in my third-year course in addition to weekly screenings of classic Soviet and Russian movies. Also, my pronunciation improved via daily phonetics exercises and tongue twisters, and my vocabulary greatly increased by reading authentic texts. By the end of the program I felt fully prepared to study abroad in Russia; when I arrived in Krasnodar, a provincial city near the Black Sea, I was able to communicate easily with my host family as well as enjoy daily life in Russia. Participating in CLS enriched my study abroad experience because it gave me the skills necessary to interact more meaningfully with my Russian host family, teachers, and friends."