The last week in Moscow has been full of adventures, both practical and cultural. As soon as I arrived in the airport, my education abroad began with seeking out a taxi. Luckily, I did some research before boarding my plane and learned that my trip should cost about 2000 rubles, so I was not taken advantage of by the taxi drivers waiting beyond Customs advertising fares of 6000 RUB. One especially adamant driver followed me through half the airport, systematically lowering his fare until I accepted for the price of 1800 RUB, or about 30 USD. Unlike in the US, Russian taxi companies rarely use meters. Instead, you must establish the price before leaving your destination. This was my first encounter with Russians in Moscow, and I was very proud of being able to haggle with my taxi driver in only slightly broken Russian.
The following day, Saturday, involved finding a place to exchange more USD to RUB. I had only exchanged enough to get me through the previous day, because I knew the rates at the airport would be far less advantageous than elsewhere in the city. After finding a shop not far from where I was staying, I took my rubles to the metro to buy a pass. Moscow’s metro is as efficient as it is elegant. The trains come every 2 minutes (~1 minute during peak hours). Each station has its own ornamentation and they range from crisp and modern to opulent and historic. As one rides the escalators down 200 ft, the décor comes into view and can only be described as breathtaking. During WWII, these stations were used as bombproof shelters for the residents of Moscow. Having never lived in a city before, I was apprehensive of my ability to navigate the metro, but the signs in the station as well as one very useful app allowed me to catch on to the workings of this form of transportation very quickly.
After becoming acquainted with the campus of Moscow Humanities University (Московский гуманитарный университет) on Monday, I began my classes on Tuesday. My class has two students, including myself. The other student is a heritage speaker of Russian, so it’s safe to say the environment is challenging. We conduct class entirely in Russian, and have discussed Lermontov and Pushkin’s poetry this week. I feel my listening comprehension improving drastically as I hear the language’s natural flow both in class and around me. I hope that speaking proficiency will follow not far behind.
Пока for now!