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Washington State University
News Travels December 2016 Newsletter Home Page


Introducing Russian

The Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures offers a one-year introduction to Russian Language; Russian 101 which is taken in the fall semester and 102 in the spring. Students learn to write in Cyrillic cursive, read Russian print, give short presentations, write dictations in Russian, and even translate the basic of Russian into English! They learn how to sing five Russian songs (Kalinka being their favorite) as well as mastering some useful Russian conversational talk.

The course, Russian 321 – Contemporary Russian Culture, is one of the prerequisites for the upcoming Russian Area Studies minor. The department is hoping to offer this minor option in Fall, 2017. This course covers the topics that help students analyze the major similarities and differences between Russian and American cultures. Learning these differences is important for the new generation to understand in order to build a better and safer world in the future. Students are trying to perceive the “mysterious Russian soul” and the idiosyncrasies of Russian mentality and behavior not only through my lectures and the textbook but also by reading classical short stories and fairy tales and watching video clips—illustrations of what may seem incomprehensible to an American mind. Students share their opinions that gradually reshape from a bit stereotypical into more realistic and factual.

Student Activity

The Association of Russian Culture Learners (ARCL) is a Registered Student Organization that is advised by Dr. Elena Smith. Students in this organization participate in events and conversations about culture, politics, traditions, and food, and watch movies, play games, and much more. This gives students a great opportunity to partake in Russian language and culture.

Association of Russian Culture Learners (ARCL)
Association of Russian Culture Learners (ARCL).


#GnomieHomie, Ruth-Fiam Nord
#GnomieHomie, Ruth-Fiam Nord

Meet our #GnomieHomie, Ruth-Fiam Nord. Ruth-Fiam was born in Kazakhstan. She can speak Russian, Kazakh, and English fluently. Ruth-Fiam is studying global politics and international relations with minors in Russian and philosophy. Ruth-Fiam is also a Russian tutor for the department.

“It’s rare to hear someone speaking in Russian on campus, but if you do hear someone speaking Russian it is like an automatic connection to that person and it makes you feel like you’re home,” Ruth-Fiam said. She also added that it is very important not to forget your native language when moving to another country. She recommends taking classes and staying in practice with the language, “it can really help you later on,” Ruth-Fiam said.