So I have been in Ufa for a little over a week and though it was time to post an update. Before we left for Russia, our group had a CLS orientation in Washington to meet each other and get information about how to use Russian after we graduate. It was great to meet all the people and everyone has been really nice and funin both classes and on excursions. Unfortunately, on the flight from Newark to Washington my suitcase was lost and still has not made it to Ufa, I have been told its in Moscow now, but I’m not sure if it will ever arrive. Luckily, my parents are great and drove down a new bag for me right before we had to leave, so I have clothing and such for the trip.
As for Ufa itself, it is very different than St. Petersburg. One of my favorite aspects of the city ismany of the signs are in Bashkir and Russian so one gets to see both cultures coexisting, although Russian is far more dominant.
My host family has been wonderful so far. I live with a woman, Farida Fagimovna and her 22-year old son Denis (accent on the last syllable) who just finished university. He studied water quality and control engineering which I understand very little about. But he has taken me around and we talk about sports, TV and movies so that has been interesting and really helpful for my language learning. He also worked in America last summer on the Work and Travel program so it has been interesting to hear what he thought about America and what he saw there.
Classes have been challenging, but I have been able to keep up and they are really helping my comprehension. Also, whenever I am at my homestay the TV seems to be on, so I have watched a good amount of Russian TV which helps me work on my accent and get new vocabulary. We are all are working on groups projects while we are here and I am working on media in Bashkortostan, so the things I learned in my senior seminaron Russian television last semester should come in handy.
Finally, since we are some of the few Americans to come to Ufa and a boon to their economy, we were on local television. So for you viewing pleasure, here is the link, its all in Russian but still interesting. I am seen briefly near the end.
I will update again after our excursions to religious sites in Ufa and some of the local museums.