Vana Eliz tells us about her time in Russia

BA (Hons) Asia Pacific Studies (Russian Pathway)

I am so happy that I chose to study Russian at UCLan and was able to spend my year abroad semesters in both Moscow and St. Petersburg. I found that UCLan was one of the few universities that, together with a language course, provides the opportunity to further enhance your language skills by taking part in a year abroad experience. Prior to enrolling I was able to directly communicate with Olga who is the head of Russian Studies. The support and motivation I received before enrolling on this course with zero knowledge of Russian was impeccable.

Being raised in a bilingual home meant that I was always extremely interested in different languages and the evolution of language. Asian and Russian cultures, their history and language were topics I was extremely curious about as they are significantly different to my own culture. Furthermore, during the course I found that Olga was extremely passionate about teaching and language and that provided me with extra motivation to succeed.

Vana Eliz in Moscow
Vana Eliz in Moscow

Learning Russian at the School of Language and Global Studies, with all the wonderful opportunities provided by The Vladimir Vysotsky Centre for Russian Studies, gave me a strong foundation on which to build my Russian further during my year abroad for which I am forever grateful. I have countless good memories of my time as a student consisting of the fun lessons and experiences I have shared with my classmates in and out of lectures. Olga invited us all the Russian club where we gain a deeper knowledge of Russian culture and mind-set, this is extra-curricular and extremely fun. This has helped us to create a great bond, allowing us to create long lasting memories, especially during our year abroad.

My classmates have become lifelong friends but unfortunately our time abroad had to be cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic. During my year abroad I felt that we were provided with the necessary support from UCLan in general. The cities are stunning and so full of culture and amazing food. My experience there exceeded my expectations, not least because I got to travel to the very north of Russia and see the Northern Lights which was a dream come true. I met people from all around the world and made friends for life. Also, the teachers were nice and engaging which improved my Russian massively. If I could I would do the whole year abroad in Russia again.

My advice for any prospective students who are planning to go on a study year abroad would be to gather all the documents needed well prior to the deadline. Be organised and don’t leave anything till the last minute. I’d also say that outside of the course there are a lot of clubs and social opportunities. If I could go back to the beginning of my course, I would make a conscious effort to join more clubs and gain more experiences. Really put yourself out there and make the most of everything the University has to offer.