I have decided to write this blog in a chronological order, so today, in the first blog article of my life, I will write about the decision of going to Russia. Look, mom! I am a blogger now!
One of the most common questions I get is "Why did you learn Russian, to begin with?" and the second most common question I get is "Why did you go to Russia?", often followed by "You have family there? Oh, you are one of those Brazilians who study medicine in Russia because you couldn't get into a public university in Brazil and private universities are expensive as f? Soooo, what about Russian women, huh?" at this point normally I stare at the person with a face I can only describe as wondering why do I live.
So, let's answer each of these questions! This is going to be so much fun!
Why did you begin learning Russian?
Why? WHY? The truth is at the time I started learning Russian, I was only 13 or 14 years old and it was not a serious commitment or anything like that. Now, I am a bit ashamed of admitting this, but I only really started learning Russian because I thought it sounded cool in Age of Empires III. Yep, you read that right, I started learning a foreign language because of a computer game, but then again, I only got interested in English because of Warcraft III, so there's that.
|Russia, in Age of Empires III. As you can clearly see, the only possible weather in Russia is dark and snowy. Also, why so many lamp posts? Oh, because there's no sunlight in Russia. Makes sense.|
So, 14 year old Leandro decided that Russian sounded cool and started learning it. How could that not go wrong? It did went quite well, to be honest. There was a lot of content in the internet to get me through the basics of the Russian language. By the time I was 16 I was already being an excruciating prick about knowing Russian in my school.
OK, I get it, but why did you have to go to Russia?
So the years passed and the dreadful end of high school neared like a black cloud of despair and doubt in the horizon (I can be dramatic, I know). During that last year before college, I moved to the city of São José dos Campos at the state of São Paulo in order to
finally get away of the small town I had been living for all my life prepare for the Brazilian SAT. Time was not on my side then, and in the first months I realized I was not going to get admitted in the Aeronautics Technological Institute, and I also realized that I definitely did not want to study aerospacial engineering even if I did get admitted. By the end of that year I was completely clueless about what exactly I wanted for my life. I was considering everything between engineering and international relations. As anyone knows, these are totally very similar fields of study.
|The Technological Institute of Aeronautics, where I have never stepped foot to this day.|
Which is when Russia comes to the stage! A friend told me about an agency through which I could do a 1-year Russian language course and study at a Russian university after that for a fraction of the cost of a private university in Brazil. By my calculations back then, when living expenses were included, it was even cheaper than studying in a public university. Why so? In Brazil, public universities were completely free for all who got admitted, but most students can't (or don't want to) live in university dormitories, so they rent apartments instead. The Russian language course, though it was paid, was very cheap compared to what a private course would cost in Brazil, and a place at the dormitory was only a fraction of the cost of renting an apartment. I will probably write about this in a later blog for those who are interested in details. :)
But be careful! Of course, though that was the case in 2013, prices have changed a lot since then so if you are actually interested in doing this, be sure to make your own calculations first.
I had a very hard choice in front of me: I could either try the national exams in Brazil and get admitted in one of the zillion courses I had in mind at a Brazilian university, or I could spend a year in Russia deciding what I actually want to do and maybe even get a scholarship right there. Also, come on, what sounds cooler in a job interview: "I graduated in a Brazilian university" or "I graduated in Russia" ? The choice was very clear in the mind of a 17 year old who never saw another country.
|I am a funny person, right? Riiight?|
Any teenager can imagine this situation [of not knowing what bachelor's degree to pursue], because it happens every year to every student, or so I like to think. There were so many ideas floating in my mind and yet I had no idea of what to do next. It was all up to me to decide what my life would be from now on, and God forbid I didn't have a high enough grade to start a bachelor's degree in a federal university in Brazil.
The only thing I can say at this point is that fear got the best of me and in the end I decided to go to Russia simply because I was too afraid of not having high enough grades to do a bachelor's in a famous university in Brazil. And then I found out I had passed on the first fase of the exam for the University of São Paulo. Cheers!
I think this is it for today. My main motives have been explained by my able
pen keyboard and now you know why I decided to study in Russia. Next week we can talk about this language course and the first impressions I got from that place.