By this time next week, I will have finished my last ever finals week as an undergraduate student at Iowa State University. Late night and early morning study sessions will be a thing of the past. Playing pickup games of basketball at Lied won’t happen anymore. The Red 1A Cyride bus route will slowly fade from memory. By this time next week, I will be a mere day away from graduating with a degree in agricultural business and a minor in Russian studies.
It’s a rather interesting combination of subjects to study and one that raises eyebrows (my own included sometimes) in confusion. What has agricultural business got to do with Russian studies? I’m sure there are valid and legitimate connections to be made between the two courses of studies, but honestly, I didn’t embark on a Russian studies minor for the potential career benefits of knowing the language. I traveled to Novosibirsk, Russia upon graduating from high school in 2010 and met some really neat people. I told a few of my closest Russian friends that I wanted to return some day and speak with them in their native tongue. While I don’t think it technically counts, I have indeed written at least one of my Russian friends in his native language on multiple occasions.
My initial desire to study Russian stemmed from a promise I made, but since beginning classes at Iowa State, I’ve discovered so much to enjoy about the program. Good friends, excellent teachers, and the sense of accomplishment in learning to speak a foreign language at a 4-year-old’s proficiency (if even) are just a few of those things. It wasn’t long until I found myself registering for Russian classes simply because I enjoyed learning the language and studying the culture.
So, where to from here? How will I use Russian in the real world? That’s a question we are both wondering. I don’t exactly know how Russian will fit into my career, but regardless of whether it does directly or not, I do fully intend to maintain what little proficiency I have gained – even if that means randomly placing an order in Russian at Hickory Park to see the waiter’s reaction.
I would be remiss if I did not extend a public thank you to the teachers who have taught, encouraged, and motivated me throughout my pursuit of a Russian studies minor. You have all played an irreplaceable role in my adventure at Iowa State. Professors Mesropova, Zachoval, and Vorozhbit – I owe my knowledge of and success in Russian studies to you! Большое спасибо (thank you very much)!
Всего хорошего (all the best),
Раян Фишер (Ryan Fisher)