Study Abroad


Riho Kusayanagi

I took leave from Sophia and spent nine months studying at Moscow State University. Students on leave from other universities studied at a separate location away from the main university buildings, and were in a department that specialized in Russian language for foreign students. The classes were conducted in small groups with just 5–10 people per class, and there were lectures three days per week on Russian grammar, conversation, composition, and so on. Depending on the class, there were debates or movie viewings. On the other two days, there were “seminars,” in which students could study the fields that interested them. I focused on studying literature and history.

On the weekends, I went to the theater and museums, or spent time in town with Russian friends. What surprised me most was how incredibly inexpensive tickets for the ballet and concerts were compared to Japan. You can easily experience high-quality works of art, so even if you are not all that interested in the arts, I encourage you to go and take a look.

At first, the Russian I heard spoken in the city was so different from the Russian I learned in classes, I could hardly understand a thing, and it was difficult at times. Nonetheless, by the end of my time there, I had made enough progress that I could argue with the lady hosting me for my homestay. It went by in the blink of an eye, but it was a fun nine months that taught me a great deal.