Brenna studied in St. Petersburg on the CIEE: St. Petersburg, Russian Language (Summer) Program in Summer 2016.
How have you used the skills you learned abroad now that you are back; either in job searching, or in other activities?
There is no better way to learn a language than by immersing yourself in the culture and living in the country. It is completely different from going to a language class 4 or 5 days a week at Penn State. You get a feel for the how the language is used in its natural context and it challenges you daily to think outside the box in order to communicate. Studying abroad in Russia was invaluable to my experience in learning the Russian language, and 2 months in St. Petersburg took me further than 2 years taking of classes in the US did.
What advice would you give to outbound study abroad students to help them make the most out of their study abroad experiences?
Try everything. Don’t say no to any experience abroad, even if it seems like something abnormal to us in the United States. I visited tons of museums, a one man show, and a Russian sauna–although some of the experiences were different than what you would expect, I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Going the extra mile to experience the culture really enhances your classroom learning.