From Russia with love

By Tyler Mcneil

The Russian Club brings two cultures closer together every Friday in Brahan Hall.

Natasha Anthony, Language Laboratory Director of eight years has come a long way. Anthony, who advises the club, said, “Some [students in Russian Club] are born in Russia. We mainly get international students [in general] who just came to study abroad and they just need somebody to bond with,” said Anthony.

The Russian Club is currently composed of ten members from varying backgrounds.

Anthony started advising the Foreign Language and Culture Club in 2005 and then the Russian Club two years later.

She stated that in the Foreign Language and Culture Club alone, there are students from China, Japan Mongolia, India and Nepal.

“We also get students who were born in Russia and then came to the States early,” Anthony said. “They come here because they’re interested in recollecting [their culture] and background and as surprising as it is, we sometimes get students who are just really interested in Russian culture.”

The Russian Club is also a tool used by foreign students to get through the difficult transition from Russian to American culture. The goal of the club is to bridge the gap between these vastly different worlds.

“Some people have difficulty adjusting to this culture, so we share our experiences and give each other different tips,” said Anthony.

The social transition is the hardest part of adjusting for Russians.

“Many Russians complain that Americans are more shallow. Russians expect everybody to be interested in each other more. They’re more social,” said Anthony.

Anthony said that she does not personally believe “all Americans are shallow.” However, she said she understands why a Russian who is new to American culture would make that assertion.

“[Russians] expect everybody to ask how they feel. For some it’s more difficult to get used to than others,” she said.

Part of this is due to the geography of Europe. People who live in such a place must be able to adapt to others.

“In Europe, you drive for only an hour and you’re in a different culture. Russians are more adjustable because of that,” said Anthony.

As such, there are differences between Americans and Russians in regards to communication.

“My father asks [to others] how much [money] do you make? Where do you house? Do you have [a] wife? Americans get easily startled if you ask them about their personal lives. Russians are just interested,” said Anthony.

Russian students often struggle being so far from home.

“It’s difficult. Sometimes they come here for a few years to study and [they’re] on [their] own. [Their] Mom cannot call the college. [In this case], nobody can help you,” said Anthony

Anthony said she believes the broad ethnic population of Hudson Valley is what gives Russian Club and Foreign Language and Culture Club strength.

“We have such a diverse population that you do not have to go far to see [it].”

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