For my last week, my professor Marina decided to have half of our lessons outside walking around the city and visiting museums.My wonderful professor Marina.
We would converse about certain landmarks around the city and I would learn a lot of new vocabulary. On one occasion we visited an interesting Museum which had many weapons from WWII from multiple countries.
After receiving a short history about all the weapons and gear, I was able to try some of it out.
Marina took some pictures with me as well.
They had some interesting posters from WWII as well.
They have a sort of dark humor.
I could not thank my professors enough for spending so much time with me everyday. So I decided to take them to lunch on my last day of class.
As I said farewell to my professors, I started to say my goodbyes to all the friends I had made during my time here in Irkutsk.
A night out with Eugene and Olga.
My buddy Victoria.
My friend Natasha.
My friends from the U.S.A.Patricia and Rebecca.
My friend Ilyuha.
My friends starting from the left: Sergey, Christina, Dasha, Ilyuha, (me), Anna.
These people and many others helped me to grow and develop a sense for what it means to be Russian. They are some of the most loving and kind people I have ever met. I hope to stay in touch with all of them and visit them all again.
Interesting fact, Russian billiards is much different than the American version. It is twice the size and all the balls are white except one. The rules are different as well. once you break, you can hit any ball into any other ball. The balls themselves are much larger and the pockets are much smaller than the American version. Whoever, sinks more balls into the pockets wins.
My time here in Irkutsk has been a very rewarding experience. and I really wish I could stay longer. I have learned so much, and not just language skills, but a lot about Russian culture and their way of life. Interacting with the people of Russia was the greatest part of my experience here in Irkutsk. Everyone was willing to listen to me struggle to speak their language, and they were happy to do so. I was able to converse with people about religion, politics, and current events. This helped expand my vocabulary in Russian and also taught me some informal ways of communicating. It also allowed me to develop a more personal bond with whomever I was speaking with. Being able to share my own thoughts and opinions with the local community really helped open me up as a person.
It is now my goal to return to Irkutsk once I am fluent in Russian so that I can have more fluid conversations with everyone who I met during my time here. There is so much emotion in their language and I want to be able to express myself the same way a native speaker would. I am eternally grateful to the people of Irkutsk who helped me grow and welcomed me into their lives.
I wish them all the best and I do hope to see them all again.