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Student Voices

Each year, the Russian Flagship Program trains a dedicated team of student ambassadors to assist with program activities. Student ambassadors answer questions from prospective students and their families, lead mini-tours of the program, represent the Russian Flagship at campus resources fairs, and assist with co-curricular activities and events.

If you are a prospective student who would like to learn more about the Russian Flagship Program from a peer’s perspective, check out the testimonials below or reach out to any of the current year’s student ambassadors. You can also request more information and a faculty or staff member will follow up with you.

2021-22 Student Ambassadors

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Taylor Hatley

Coming soon!

Izzy Prenger

Coming soon!

Eleanor Sands

Coming soon!

2020-21 Student Ambassadors

"Now that I'm in the program, I constantly reinforce my Russian speaking skills with my peers, attend one-on-one tutoring with an excellent tutor, and am significantly more confident in my abilities."

Taylor Alexander, Current Student

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Taylor Alexander

Please introduce yourself to prospective students.

I’m a sophomore majoring in legal studies and sociology, and I’m also planning to pursue a certificate in criminal justice. I’m a member of Air Force ROTC and am hoping to get a law degree after graduating. I love playing video games and practicing Russian with my roommate, who is also in the Russian Flagship. I’m involved in several clubs on campus, ranging from the speech and debate team to Survivor’s Best Friend, a group that unites assault victims with support dogs. It is so gratifying to see how far I’ve come in just a year with my education, but I’m most proud of how much my Russian has developed in such a short period of time!

How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?

My Russian skills have changed drastically! In my first semester of Russian, I wasn’t in the Russian Flagship Program. Although I was taking the same courses as those who were in the program, the Russian Flagship students were clearly picking up the language quicker than I was. I realized that it was because they were involved in events in which you speak Russian in a low-pressure environment, so they could make mistakes without worrying. They also spoke way more frequently than I did. Now that I’m in the program, I constantly reinforce my Russian speaking skills with my peers, attend one-on-one tutoring with an excellent tutor, and am significantly more confident in my abilities.

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?

My favorite aspect of the program is being able to make connections with other people who speak this very uncommon language. It’s not every day that you walk down the street and meet someone who speaks this critical language! I also like the idea of learning in low-pressure environments in which you can have fun and strengthen your skills without the fear of needing to be textbook perfect.

Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?

Professional-level Russian is very important to me because of my career aspirations. I hope to be an immigration lawyer or work in some other division that utilizes my Russian skills, so being proficient in the language is of the utmost importance. In the most basic sense, I want to be proficient to avoid sounding like a fool to native speakers.

What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?

If you’re on the fence, do it! If you have any desire to continue your knowledge of Russian, this program provides unparalleled resources to help you on your journey. Speaking as someone who has been enrolled as both a “regular” student and a student in the Russian Flagship, there’s no comparison. Only after joining the program did I realize how hard it is to learn this language on your own. The friendships that you make, the knowledge that you receive, and the skills that you build in this program are incredible and you’ll be hard-pressed to find them elsewhere.

Eliza Hernandez

Please introduce yourself to prospective students.

Hi! My name is Eliza Hernandez. I’m a junior at UW-Madison studying international studies and Russian. In my free time, I enjoy taking care of my houseplants, reading, and playing video games. I was introduced to the Russian language when I spontaneously decided to enroll in a First-Year Interest Group, Russia and the World, and I have had a deep interest in the language and the country ever since!

How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?

My Russian language skills have changed dramatically since joining the Russian Flagship Program. I started studying Russian during the fall semester of my freshman year and I had no previous exposure to it before coming to UW-Madison; however, after my first year and my summer Russian courses, I was able to reach an intermediate level of Russian. My speaking ability and overall comprehension have improved greatly!

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?

My favorite aspect of the Russian Flagship Program is the ability to meet and connect with new people of all different backgrounds. As someone who came from a smaller town, I had a lot of anxiety about moving to Madison. I was worried about making friends and finding a group that I really fit into and enjoyed. However, thanks to the Russian Flagship, I have met some of my very best friends!

Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?

Professional proficiency in Russian is important to me because I would like to use Russian in my future career and even live in a Russian-speaking country. I want to work as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State and because of the current state of world affairs, having the ability to speak Russian is critically important. I also feel that Russia and its people are often misunderstood and I would like to improve the relationship between our countries.

What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?

Apply! I know that this program may seem intimidating at first, but you will meet so many people who have gone through or are going through the same experiences as you, and you are not alone! This program will open so many doors for you and your future career. I cannot recommend it enough!

Miles Matyiko

Please introduce yourself to prospective students.

Hi! I’m Miles Matyiko. Currently, I’m a sophomore and plan to major in finance and mathematics and pursue the undergraduate certificate offered by the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia. Outside of the Russian Flagship Program, I play for the UW-Madison rugby club, where I also lead recruitment efforts. I am co-owner and operator of a lawn service company in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. I enjoy reading fantasy novels and going out with friends in my fraternity here at UW-Madison, and I am excited to meet prospective Russian Flagship students!

How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?

My Russian language skills have drastically improved since joining the Russian Flagship Program! Although I took Russian in high school, my speaking and comprehension abilities have greatly increased due to the program’s tutoring sessions and many outside events and activities.

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?

Being able to connect and develop a relationship with my tutors has been a wonderful experience. I also cherish the many fun opportunities the program provides to meet other students and further my Russian skills.

Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?

I believe that learning a second language helps one to become a more well-rounded and cultured person. Thanks to my current knowledge of Russian, I have already developed many valuable relationships and been immersed in completely different cultures. Becoming professionally proficient would only open more doors for me.

What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?

Join! You will not regret devoting extra time to learning a language!

Luke Stoerger

Please introduce yourself to prospective students.

I am a third-year student who is majoring in history and political science, as well as studying Russian in the Russian Flagship Program. My academic focus is on world history and international relations, with a goal of pursuing a career involved with diplomacy and international organizations.

How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?

They have been assisted and accelerated thanks to Russian Flagship tutoring and intensive summer coursework!

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?

My favorite aspects are the connections to the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic+, the program’s co-curricular activities, and summer study and study abroad opportunities.

Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?

My interest in Russian combined with my pursuit of an international career make professional Russian skills a very tangible and important goal for me!

What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?

Commitment is important in a program like this, but the members of this program and the resources available will guide you well to ensure that you get the most out of every opportunity!

2019-20 Student Ambassadors

"The faculty and staff are super supportive to us in our individual fields, in our learning of Russian, and as people in general!"

Brady Wegner, Current Student

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Aleks Cwalina

Please introduce yourself to prospective students.

Hi! My name is Aleks and I have been in the Russian Flagship for a little over a year now. I have always been fascinated with Eastern European culture and have decided to develop this further at UW-Madison with courses examining Eastern Europe through history and language, taking the “Russia and the World” First-Year Interest Group (FIG) on sort of a whim freshman year. I love to learn languages (Russian is my fifth) and was initially cautiously interested in the language portion of the FIG but came to love it and the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic as a whole through the wonderful students and staff learning and working in it.

How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?

My Russian skills have dramatically improved since joining the program. After just first year and summer Russian, I managed to reach Intermediate High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) scale in speaking, a level usually attained after four years of traditional high school language education. This is due to the higher expectations (but higher rewards) of work within the Russian Flagship and the vast amount of resources available, whether through extra classes or weekly tutoring. My speech became more fluent and natural, and my comprehension of spoken and written material drastically improved as well, both around Advanced Mid by ACTFL standards. In comparison to other language classes at UW-Madison, it’s hard to find a program that fosters these skills at a similar level.

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?

I think my favorite aspect of the Russian Flagship is, as cheesy as it may sound, the people you meet along the way. I’ve made most of my best friends in college through the Russian Flagship, whether by seeing them in class every day or through other extra-curricular activities that the program organizes. Additionally, there are many other amazing people in the various cohorts and faculty and staff with unique backgrounds and specializations that, even looking beyond Russian, I am glad to have met.

Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?

Professional/Superior proficiency in Russian is important to me because, as an aspiring political journalist, Russia and its people are often ignored or sidelined in European and world politics due to remnants of post-Cold War Russophobia. However, as many know, Russia plays a large role on the political stage and ignoring its perspectives comes at a detriment to achieving a better overall view necessary of anyone studying journalism or political science in the twenty-first century. On another level, Russian culture in and of itself is fascinating and learning the Russian language and culture makes following it more engaging and interesting.

What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?

First, although the requirements may seem tough or hard to fit in, I recommend applying anyway and seeing how you feel after the first semester. Even for a double major pursuing a certificate in another language, I have managed to fit in Russian and anything else the Russian Flagship Program requires just fine. If something seems dicey, faculty and staff are more than happy to help you work things out. Another word of advice is to take advantage of every resource the Russian Flagship offers. Many of the events outside of the classroom are helpful to not only brush up on your Russian, but also to meet people in the program outside of your cohort who are interested in the same things as you!

Kate Sandy

Please introduce yourself to prospective students.

Hello! My name is Kate, and I’m a junior at UW-Madison studying Russian and regional studies (Russian, Eastern European, Central Asian, and South Asian). I transferred here from New College of Florida, mainly for the Russian Flagship Program! I love learning languages, and in addition to Russian, I study Spanish, Urdu, and Hindi. When I’m not in class, I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee on the university team and finding new study spots with good tea and coffee! I am currently learning to play the domra (a Russian string instrument) with the Russian Folk Orchestra.

How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?

I entered the Russian Flagship Program after one semester of Russian during my first year on campus. I feel it’s sometimes hard to judge your progress in a language, since it’s always challenging and there is always more to learn, but looking back, I’d say the progress that I’ve made so far has been enormous. I’ve gone from knowing nothing to being able to have extended conversations with native speakers. I would say the resources available to us are really just unparalleled. Tutoring, especially, is a great judgement-free space to get out of your comfort zone, work on concepts that you’re having a hard time with, and try implementing them in conversation.

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?

I’ve always wanted to learn Russian and started with being around some of our close Russian family friends as a kid. One of the things I like best about the Russian Flagship is the community that comes with it – I’ve met many of my friends though the program! I also love how the administrative team works to make the program as flexible as possible, to suit your goals and the goals of the program. As a transfer student and someone who also studies other languages, this is a huge benefit!

Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?

My main motivation for learning Russian to a professional level of proficiency is as basic as being able to communicate with more people and to better understand Russian culture. I am excited to someday read the classics of Russian literature in their original form! I also aspire to eventually work for either an embassy or federal agency, in which case fluency in Russian would be a major asset.

What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?

Go for it! The essence of the Russian Flagship Program does a great job of bringing together highly motivated students who are tight-knit and mutually supportive. Russian is challenging to learn, and this is a challenging program, but it does come with everything you need, and you will learn faster than you might think possible – all you need to supply is motivation and commitment!

Claudia Torres-Giraldo

Please introduce yourself to prospective students.

Привет! My name is Claudia. I was born in Peru, but I moved to Chicago when I was 7-years-old. I am currently a junior, majoring in Russian and political science and getting a certificate in Chicano Latino Studies. The Russian Flagship Program was one of the main reasons I came to UW-Madison because I knew I wanted to continue studying Russian like I did in high school.  In my free time, I am usually watching Netflix, eating at Paul’s Pelmeni or at Estacion Inka, walking around campus, playing my prima domra or flute, and reading Russian literature!

How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?

I joined the Russian Flagship Program during the second semester of my first year at UW-Madison. My language skills have improved. When I started the program, I knew I wanted to develop better conversational skills. The tutoring sessions every week have helped me become a more confident speaker. I still make mistakes, but I am more aware of them than I was before. This program has helped me so much in my language journey!

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?

My favorite part of the program is the community. Every person that I have met has been very supportive of each other. I love that this is a very close community where we can share our fears and concerns as well as our accomplishments. This program has provided a safe environment where it is okay to make mistakes because that is the only way to learn, especially when it comes to language. This is an experience that I know I will never forget!

Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?

Reaching a professional level of proficiency in Russian is very important to me. As a native speaker of Spanish, I know how language brings people together and creates a very inclusive community. I currently do not know what I want to do with my life after college, but I know for sure that I want to use Russian. As a Pushkin Scholar, I would like to reach a high level of proficiency, which could give me the opportunity to teach Russian, especially in a high school program like the one that gave me so many opportunities and a family.

What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?

What you put into this program is what you get out! The Russian Flagship Program will challenge you and lead you to success. I know that this program can be intimidating, but there are many advisors here to support you. This is an intensive program, but you are not alone. There are many students who went or will be going through the same struggle. Russian is not easy, but it does not mean it cannot be fun!

Brady Wegner

Please introduce yourself to prospective students.

Hello! I’m Brady, a student ambassador for the Russian Flagship Program and a junior who’s majoring in Russian, Spanish, and International Studies. I love hiking, video games, cooking, and I always try to learn about new subjects and increase my vocabulary every day. I became interested in the Russian language after enrolling in a First-Year Interest Group at UW-Madison and have been enamored with the language ever since. I spent summer 2019 in Russia, and it was amazing to use the skills that I have developed thanks to the Russian Flagship Program.

How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?

Before starting my first year in Madison, I learned the Russian alphabet out of curiosity, and to prepare for my future classes. Since then I have taken four full semesters of Russian and two intensive summer courses, one of which took place in Russia. From this, I have gone from speaking little to no Russian, to being able to have full in-depth conversations in the language. The best example of this was my first night with my host family in St. Petersburg, when my host mother and I talked from 8:00 pm until midnight without using a single word of English!

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?

My favorite parts of the Russian Flagship Program are the people. Students come from all kinds of backgrounds and fields of study, which is always fascinating to me. The faculty and staff are super supportive to us in our individual fields, in our learning of Russian, and as people in general!

Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?

My proficiency is extremely important to me, as in the future I hope to work as a diplomat in either Russia or as a translator in any agency or business. Beyond that, I really enjoyed traveling through Russia and hope that I can do so again soon!

What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?

Go for it! This program will help you in so many ways, even if you do not see yourself using Russian in the future, it serves as a great résumé builder that attests to your skills in a professional field. Beyond that, it is amazing for personal development. I have learned so much and have grown so much from the Russian Flagship Program. Lastly, I would say that it just feels good to attain a high level of language proficiency, especially when you consider that you started from the very beginning!

2018-19 Student Ambassadors

"If you want to learn a language, this is the best way."

Marina Waggoner, Former Student

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Megan Feeley

Please introduce yourself to prospective students.

Hello! I’m currently a junior, studying Russian and International Studies. I enjoy spending my time exploring the city, going on walks on the Lakeshore Path, and spending time with my friends, most of whom I’ve met through the Russian Flagship. When I’m not studying Russian, I’m usually watching a movie, listening to music, or playing video games. I’m really excited to get to know prospective students and to tell them about all the amazing opportunities the program has to offer!

How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?

I joined the program relatively early in my college career, at the start of the spring semester of my first year of college. Since then, my language skills have improved dramatically. I went from knowing absolutely no Russian whatsoever and in two years I was studying abroad in Kazakhstan! It blows my mind how much I’ve improved in just 3 short years of studying Russian. Of course, I’m nowhere near fluent yet, but my confidence in understanding and speaking Russian have absolutely skyrocketed since joining the program.

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?

The support you receive is one of the most important aspects of the program for me. Every step of the way, there are advisors there to help you plan out classes and when to apply for study abroad programs, and there are tutors to help with any questions about grammar, language, culture, etc. In addition, the friends I’ve met in the program are some of the most important people in my life. When I came to college, I didn’t know anyone and only began meeting people once I joined the Russian Flagship. So the program isn’t only helpful academically, but socially as well. The opportunity to study abroad for a summer as well as for a full academic year is also something that was very important to me, as I felt studying abroad was something I should experience at some point during my college career.

Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?

It’s my dream to become fluent in a foreign language. It’s something I’ve wanted since I was a kid. I never thought it was possible until I joined this program. Additionally, I aspire to work in a government job, maybe in an embassy or with a federal agency, and in that case, I need to be fluent in Russian to make it a viable part of my career.

What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?

If you are considering joining this program, I would say go for it! You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain in terms of language acquisition, new friends, and incredible opportunities, with advisors and professors there to support you every step of the way. Even if you think you might be too busy to participate, I guarantee you it’s possible to fit everything in your schedule, and if there are ever conflicts, advisors are more than willing to help you organize classes and accommodate all the necessary tutoring sessions for you, should you choose to join. Ultimately, the opportunities provided by the Russian Flagship can be found in few other places, so if you want to learn Russian and gain skills that will only be increasingly helpful as you go through life, then the Russian Flagship Program is for you!

Justin Magoon

Please introduce yourself to prospective students.

I’m a Russian major and a cadet in the Air Force ROTC program on campus. I’m from a small town about an hour from Madison. I started learning Russian out of simple curiosity and it has never stopped intriguing me, so here I am 3 years later! In my spare time, I enjoy working out, playing computer games with my friends, and playing the piano.

How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?

The program helped transform Russian from a simple academic subject to an actual second language. My summer study abroad initiated that transition, and since then, Russian feels much more like a way of thinking than some classroom exercise, not only in reading and writing, but as a conversation tool.

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?

Being able to travel to the other side of the planet, to Kazakhstan, a country I had hardly ever given a thought to and learn about the post-Soviet world and Central Asia in an entirely different language and understand it all, with generous scholarship support, is a pretty sweet deal. I also enjoy tutoring, as it’s become easier to converse and the tutors will do anything from shoot the breeze to talk about deeper or more personal issues.

Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?

As a future Air Force officer, I hope to work abroad and use my knowledge of Russian in capacities and positions available to few. Professional proficiency in Russian is essential to being competitive for these respected positions, and simply completing a degree in Russian is not sufficient. The Russian Flagship tends to attract high-caliber students, as does Air Force ROTC, and I know that the two have challenged me to improve every aspect of myself.

What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?

You aren’t signing your life away! You’re simply starting a program that will challenge you but will also transform you into someone you don’t fully recognize by the time you’re finished. You’re bound to meet at least two people with similar interests, goals, or hobbies, and, of course, people in your classes, so it’s good on the social side of things too. A language like Russian, for sure, is not easy to learn, but it’s used by millions across the world daily with ease, and the Russian Flagship will help you get to that level too.

Jacob Plughoeft

Please introduce yourself to prospective students.

Привет! Howdy! My name is Jake Pflughoeft, but you can call me “Pflugey” (floo-gie). I am a junior studying Russian, English, and German with the goal of becoming a teacher. The very first class I had at UW-Madison was a Russian course. Early on in my first year, I was able to find a community that I wanted to be a part of. Before starting Russian, I never imagined devoting such a part of my life to the things of a world so far away from my own! I would love the chance to help anyone find what they are passionate about. I am interested in languages, poetry, old video games, and helping people.

How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?

As I mentioned, I have learned all my Russian from my time at university. The program has helped me get more comfortable with speaking Russian among other things. Because I was meeting with two separate tutors on a weekly basis and speaking primarily Russian, I felt able to try all the things I was afraid to say in class. The extra help made a significant difference in my confidence. Additionally, my trip abroad, which was made possible due to Russian Flagship scholarships, put me at a much higher level than I could have achieved in an English-speaking environment.

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?

The Russian Flagship Program sets you on a journey. This path is offered to others with similar interests. As you delve deeper into the Russian language, strong connections form with the people around you. Having friends who are, for example, struggling with the same eight-credit intensive summer course makes a huge difference. Not only do you get closer to the people in the classroom with you, but the whole department becomes a second home. It’s such a welcoming environment that there have been times I’ve gone up to the upper floors of Van Hise just to hang out and speak some Russian. The people around you become more than a community. They become your family.

Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?

Reaching a professional level of Russian is very important to me. At this point in my language acquisition, I can speak conversationally. However, I greatly desire to achieve a higher level of proficiency. At some point in my life, I would like to teach Russian to native English speakers. In order for me to feel comfortable doing this, I want to be almost perfectly versed in my third language. Also, I love Pushkin and being able to understand what he and other poets have written without a translation is a goal of mine.

What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?

If you’re on the fence, just try it! Unless you have a remarkably rigid schedule, college is the time to try new things that interest you. I took German in high school and had absolutely no inkling towards Russian whatsoever when I originally signed up for classes. However, I took my Slavic 101 course, and now I am able to communicate with an entirely new group of people. I didn’t expect to love a language so much and I never would have found out if I hadn’t tried something completely foreign to me.

Marina Waggoner

Please introduce yourself to prospective students.

My name is Marina and I transferred to UW-Madison from Portland State University. I am currently double majoring in Zoology and Russian. I’m not sure what I will do when I “grow up,” but I’m hoping to do something that aids in animal research and/or the conservation of flora and fauna. When I’m not overwhelming myself with studying, I enjoy drawing, painting, crafting, going out to a show or talk, doing anything outside, and being active. Not surprisingly, my favorite things to paint are animals. I mostly enjoy creating realistic art, unless I just need to unwind. Then I love to doodle.

How have your Russian language skills changed since joining the Russian Flagship Program?

My language skills have improved, slowly but surely. When I decided to transfer, I took a year and a half off from university and went to Russia for an academic year, and then traveled a little afterward. My time in Russia was very helpful, obviously, so when I came back, my main goal was not only to see my language skills improve but to keep the skills I gained in Russia. This program has really helped me to continue down the track of becoming fluent. It’s hard for a program to make it so intense that you feel you are in Russia, but this is one of the best language learning educations I have ever received.

What are some of your favorite aspects of the Russian Flagship Program?

My favorite parts of the program are the events. I like how the program really does try to get everyone together to mingle. But more than that, my absolute favorite aspect of the program is tutoring. Meeting with a group tutor and an individual tutor is so beneficial. There is a bigger focus on you, so you can ask specific questions and learn about specific topics that interest you. It’s really an amazing part of the program, especially because it gets you to talk, and you can’t learn a language without speaking!

Why is a professional level of proficiency in Russian important to you?

Professional proficiency is important to me because I am Russian. I was adopted from Russia when I was basically 9 and was as fluent as a 9-year-old can be. My fascination with trying to get the language back didn’t come until college and even then, I didn’t take it too seriously. After my time in Russia and meeting some of my birth family, I have been more motivated to become fluent, so I can speak with them. Also, I just want to re-connect to my roots and this is a great start.

What advice do you have for students who are considering the Russian Flagship Program?

Be motivated and interested! This program isn’t your high school language class. It isn’t even your college Russian class. It is much more intense and interactive. If you want to learn a language, this is the best way. You not only get to take classes taught by native speakers of Russian, but you have individual tutors who can help you speak like a native. Besides needing motivation and interest, I really advise you to be open to the many activities that are planned. Do your best to go to as many events as possible and interact in Russian!