Visiting “A Far Away Place” with Kassi Graziani

A once foreign and far away place became a passion of my mind two summers ago. It was one thing to read about the country in history books, but it was an entirely different experience to see the city, the dachas, and the daily life of the bustling cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow for myself.

The university where we lived in St. Petersburg
during the Russian Culture and Society Trip


The Summer of 2016 was an amazing adventure and rewarding experience. I was able to travel to Russia twice: first on the Russian Culture & Society Trip (which I can not say enough about!) and then through a language intensive Russian program at the University of Pittsburg (5 weeks in Pittsburgh + 5 weeks in Moscow). I visited Rostov, Yaraslavl, and Tver. I spent time with Russian students, exchanging life experiences. I was led around the cities to important historical

locations and given an in-depth tour of the museums. The days were long and exhausting, but they passed way to fast.


When I finally made it back to America, I had a renewed sense of what I wanted to do. I no longer wanted to be Russian minor. Rather, I decided to make Russian another undergraduate-study major. This was in the Autumn of 2016.


Now, it is the Autumn of 2017 and I just finished enrolling in my last semester of courses at Ohio State. I will be graduating with two majors: Security and Intelligence and Russian. I have so many supportive family, friends, and mentors to thank. I also must thank the Slavic Department and its financial contributors for helping me to achieve my goal. I would not be graduating in four years and with two majors if it was not for them. The Slavic award I received allowed me to take two

This was taken after I received my diploma of completion of the Moscow portion of my Pittsburgh program from my professor in Moscow.

May-mester courses, keeping me on track to earning my Bachelor’s of Arts degree in four years.


The Slavic award is also allowing me to look for other opportunities to grow in my knowledge of the Russian language and culture. I am applying to spend a year abroad. I want to continue my Russian language and culture education after graduation. Then, I believe I will be prepared to begin my career in the Intelligence Community. I want to make the Ohio State University, the Slavic Department, my family, and myself proud.  I want others to understand Russia, its people, and its culture, the way I have come to understand them.


Russian is an intriguing, challenging, yet rewarding language to pursue. I encourage other undergraduate students to make the most of the opportunities they have now. Travel to Russia. Spend a summer in a language intensive program. You will learn a LOT and you will improve your language ability.


Sofia, Vika, and me. I met Sofia and Vika during the OSU Russian Culture & Society Trip. Sofia was fluent in English, but Vika could hardly speak any. It gave me the opportunity to really practice what I learned in the classroom and also allowed me to learn some colloquial speech. When I returned to St. Petersburg for the second time, we reconnected and met up for an evening



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