Anjali is from San Ramon, California and participated in the 2017 Russian summer program.

anjali and her host family pictured outside russian monument

After a long week of Russian language classes, pre-professional meetings, and adventures with my Russian and American friends, I was always ready to spend the weekend with my eleven-year-old host sister and her parents. Although I enjoyed every weekend with them, my last weekend was especially memorable.

В пятницу, я готовила вкусную пиццу и смотрела "дневник принцессы". Но, я устала и уснула раньше. On Friday, we made a delicious pizza and watched "The Princess Diaries" in Russian. However, I was very tired that day so I went to bed early.

В воскресенье, я была внутри Кремля.Там брат стаса, который работает гидом, рассказал много интересных фактов о кремле и российской историй. Потом, я ела мороженое в ГУМе и ездила к родителям Ксения. Я готовила пирожки. У меня была интересный разговор о СССР и Индийском- русскиык отношения. Вечером, мы играли в карточки. On Sunday, I went inside the Kremlin. There, my host father's brother, who is a tour guide for a living, told me a lot of interesting facts about the Kremlin and Russian history. Later, I ate ice cream at GUM and then we went to my host mother's parent's house. I helped my host grandmother make pirozhkis, a Russian dish. I also had interesting conversations about the USSR and Indian-Russian relations with my host grandfather. Before coming back to the academy, I played a game of cards with my host family.

anjali pictured outside a russian monument

Coming back to the academy Sunday evening felt like reuniting with best friends who I hadn’t seen in years. After giving us some time to catch up with roommates, our resident advisor would hold a group meeting during which we shared our weekend experiences and went over the plan for the upcoming week. Whether it was going on hikes in the forests of Gorky Park, bike riding along the Moscow River, running in heels through narrow alleys, or getting caught in the perfect storms - every week was a new adventure. Our weeks consisted of daily, four-hour long Russian classes, which were filled with role-playing, singing, difficult grammar concepts, and laughter. Additionally, we met up twice a week with our Russian friends from the Pushkin Museum, who were so patient with us as we formulated simple sentences using vocabulary learned the day before. Our implementing organization planned not only professional meetings at corporations such as Bloomberg, Disney, Amedia, and Pepsico for us but also creative experiences like painting with a billionaire, cooking traditional Russian recipes, decorating and eating) gingerbread cookies, and creating scarf designs.

crowds of people within a russian political building

My six weeks in Moscow made me aware of many things. I was reminded after so many years how enjoyable learning can be when you do it solely for the sake of increasing your knowledge and self-growth. I realized that there's a world outside the small town I grew up in filled with experiences, opportunities, and people that are waiting for me. I learned how rewarding it can feel to communicate your wishes at restaurants and salons because you realize that everything you’re learning in the classroom is used in the real world! I noticed that people’s priorities are very similar regardless of the country - wanting nothing but the best for their loved ones and careers. My six weeks in Moscow have been fun and beautiful and I feel more optimistic than ever for what the future holds.