By: Ainsley, NSLI-Y Russia

Since I have been in Russia, I have had the opportunity to participate in two different competitions testing my knowledge of the Russian language. Both of these competitions were brought to me through my teachers here in Kazan. The first was Moscow State University's Festival of Friendship and consisted of two stages: 1) a narrative writing piece and 2) a creative/talent showcase. For the narrative piece, I described my experience in the small town of Buinsk where we spent the night with local host families as part of the NSLI-Y cultural program, while the talent showcase consisted of me singing a mix-up of the Russian and British versions of the song "Those Were the Days," a song popularized in English-speaking countries by Mary Hopkins.

The second competition, the Russian Language Olympiad for Foreign Students of Kazan, is actually ongoing - I am currently awaiting the results of the third round. The first round was a writing piece about my "meeting with Russia." The second round was a test of oral skills in which participants selected a famous quote at random and had to give a speech defending or criticizing the argument of the quote. I ended up speaking in agreement on the topic that "Machines should work. People should think." The most recent stage of this competition was a grammar test just this past weekend. If I move on, then that means I am moving on to the final round. However, winning this competition isn't my main goal. I am mostly having fun doing it and more importantly, I have met a multitude of really interesting people from all around the world. It is fascinating to meet these people who are so diverse yet are united by the aim of learning Russian.

Ainsley (left) was awarded third place in the competition at Moscow State University. Ainsley (left) was awarded third place in the competition at Moscow State University.