Friday, October 9, 2009

Russian Schools

In Russia I attend two schools, Vyatka Humanitarian Gymnasium ВГГ, and Kirov Economics and Law Lyceum КЭПЛ. Both of these schools are considered to be among the best schools in Russia. ВГГ is a larger school with three buildings in one district of Kirov. Students of forms 1-11 attend this school. КЭПЛ is a much smaller school with only one building. Students of forms 5-11 may attend КЭПЛ. The schools operate from eight in the morning to about six at night six days a week. Students attend from either 8am-3pm or 11am-6pm.

There are many holidays at each school and so far I have been able to attend one of them. It was ВГГ's Birthday. Schools in Russia celebrate their birthdays, I guess, strange. It was a large ceremony at one of Kirov's theatres in which each form presented a song and dance routine about a country. The foreign exchange students had to sing Frere Jacques on the stage, it was nerve wracking. At the end of the ceremony a boy from the 11th form brought out a birthday cake for the school. We ate it the next day. It was delicious. In a few weeks it will be Lyceum's birthday. They are going to have a pageant, Miss Lyceum. A girl from each class is selected to participate in the pageant and the winner becomes Miss Lyceum for the year. In March or April there will be a Mr. Lyceum pageant. Every school has these contests. Schools also have academic completions, sporting completions, and days to honor alumni.

A major difference between U.S. and Russian schools is the teaching style. In most classes the teacher dictates a text and then the students must memorize it. A lot of Russian schooling is based on memorization. Another difference is the prevalence of cell phones in the classroom. Students text in class and sometimes leave in the middle of a lecture to take a call. It is very odd. The last major difference between American and Russian schools is how the classes operate from year to year. Each class has about 25 students that stay together every year. From 1st form to 4th form kids will be in class with the same 25 children. The same from 5th to 8th form and 9th to 11th. I am in class 10б.

Pictures: Top-ВГГ Birthday Cake Bottom-My Class at КЭПЛ.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


We arrived in Russia almost two weeks ago and I feel like I have finally settled in. Russia is different than America, as expected, but it also has quite a few similarities.
  • The plants are ALL the same, they just look a little different.
  • People wear American clothing.
  • Anyone who has a car will drive to the store even if it is less that a 10 minute walk away.
  • Everyone lives in a small apartment.
  • People go for walks for fun.
  • It is cold (60 degrees F).

My host family and city are both fantastic. My host sister calls Kirov a large village, but I would call it a city. 420,000 people is not a village. The people here are very nice once you get to know them and the food is fantastic. I am not joking. Russian food is amazing. You might not expect cabbage soup (щи) to be good, but it is.

I started Russian class at last week and regular classes this week. My regular classes are taught in all Russian so considering that I don't speak the language learning is going to be a challenge. But I am up to it. Our Russian classes are going well. I can now ask what something is and say the words cat, dog, magazine, engineer, food ect. ect.

Anywho everything is going fine in Russia.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On August 19th I will be departing for a nine and a half month journey to Kirov, Russia on a scholarship provided by the US Department of State administered by American Councils. The program, NSLI-Y (National Security Language Institute for Youth) provides full scholarships for high school and recent graduates to study abroad in several counties. Approximately 500 scholarships were given out, of which 100 were given to students wishing to participate in Russian programs of varying length. About 10 students, including me, will be there for a complete academic year. The students staying for an academic year will be living in two cities, Kirov and Kazan.
The city where I will be staying has a population of 475,000 and is located in the Kirov oblast (state/province). It is an old city founded in 1181 on the shores of the Vyatka River. It is now a major transportation hub due to its location along the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Below is a link to the city website. It is all in Russian, but you can look at the pictures!