I’ve realised that people are still reading this blog, even after I’d long abandoned it, which I really appreciate. I hope that it has helped people going on their year abroad 🙂
It’s now been over a year since I returned from my year abroad in Russia, which is hard to believe. I’ve now graduated with a 2:1 degree in Russian, and am looking for a job.
My last few weeks in Russia were not the best time I’ve ever had. I was feeling quite lonely and struggled to keep myself motivated. However, I survived, helped by the fact that my family were able to visit me for a few days.
My last day in Russia was absolutely horrendous, and (through no fault of my own whatsoever, I must add), I ended up in a Russian police station with no clue what was going on, wondering if I would ever get my belongings back as we were locked out of the apartment. Luckily I’d had the sense to grab my passport and phone before we were forced from the flat by some very frightening people, and I was able to keep calm thanks to the woman I spoke to at the British Embassy. This was a terrifying experience that I don’t like to remember, and I was so so glad to be on that plane and travelling back to safety.
Having said all of that, my year abroad was an amazing and eye opening experience. I came back so much more confident, with better Russian, and a belief in myself that others could see as well. I gained experience working for a tourist magazine, and 5000 roubles payment, as my boss was impressed with how I’d worked, which was great to hear. I also finally bought myself a Fabergé egg, which I’d wanted ever since I saw one of my first trip to Russia back in 2007!
While I was there, I realised that it wasn’t that I was homesick for my home specifically, but actually for my country. Just the ability to go into a food shop and know exactly what it is that you’re buying is something that you take for granted until you can’t do it any more!
There are many things I miss about my time there, for example being surrounded by amazing culture, and buildings, such as the Winter Palace, and the white nights (although not having sunset was quite annoying at the time), the food (particularly the blinis at Teremok and the raspberry Lipton Ice Tea which you can’t get here), and their metro system, which is much better than the London Underground.
A year abroad is a great experience. I had been dreading mine since I applied for university back in 2010, and it seems so silly now that I wasted so much time worrying about it. Yes, stepping on that plane and travelling far far away from all you know is scary, but it’s definitely worth it and I’m glad I stuck it through, because I think that I am a better person for it 🙂