Cold Weather, Kind People, and a Difficult Language

We will publish a series of interviews that were made by Hilesha Humphreys, a student of the Faculty of Journalism.  

IMG-20180804-WA0002.jpg Adinda is one of the students who completed the Russian language course in TSU’s preparatory faculty in June. In this interview she shares her experience about learning the language and living in Tomsk.

 What is your name? How old are you?

My name is Adinda Sakinah. I'm eighteen years old.

 Why did you choose to study in Russia?

Why Russia? Because I got a scholarship and because Russia is a really interesting country with a lot of culture and history, and politics. And it is also related to my future career, and it will be really good for my international relations program.

 Tell me about how you obtained the scholarship.

I have a friend in St. Petersburg, he told me about the scholarship, and I applied through the Russian government. First we applied, then gave in documents, and did an interview. I did my interview in Indonesia with Mr. Artem Rykun, the Vice-Rector for International Activities from TSU.

 Why did you choose Tomsk and TSU?

Well, actually, I didn't choose Tomsk as my first option. But I saw that Mr. Rykun came to Indonesia and I thought about the university. So, I didn't choose Tomsk, I chose the university. And also it's interesting because Tomsk State University is the ranked as the number four university in Russia.

 You said you didn't know about Tomsk, but since you've been here have you enjoyed your experience?

Yes, so far yes. But the only thing I don't like is that it's really cold. But so far it's good. Tomsk is nice. Tomsk has a lot of traditional houses, and it's really interesting for me, and they are really beautiful to me. They have very beautiful views and buildings. I like it.

 What is the most memorable thing which has happened to you in Tomsk?

There are a lot of memorable things which have happened. I will never forget here being -35 and it was extremely cold and I didn't want to go anywhere, just to stay at home and sleep. I have a lot of friends from Russia, and other countries and they are really kind. And the teachers are really kind. And I also can't forget about almost losing my ATM card at the supermarket. Russians are so kind. They did not steal it. They kept it for me instead.

 Have you grown accustomed to the cold?

It's going okay for me but sometimes it gets really cold. But as long as you wear good jacket it's okay. But sometimes, it's not okay because it's super cold.

 What will you miss about Tomsk when you leave?

The weather? [laughing] The cold weather. And the people and the architecture. Because the traditional houses are really beautiful and they remind me of home. Actually it's like my grandma's home. It's not in the city. It's my hometown, Palembang.

 Tell me about your experience learning Russian.'s really hard. Russian is extremely hard. I didn't study Russian in my country. When I arrived here, I was like 'what is this'? Fortunately, I had a very good teacher. She taught us very well, and I got accustomed to it. 

 How did you get accustomed to the language?

By speaking with Russians, who I met in *AIESEC.

 Where were you introduced to AIESEC, here or in Indonesia?

I was introduced to it here. One of my friends who is also from Indonesia, joined ISEC while she was at home, and she asked me to join the organization with here in Tomsk, about two months after I arrived in Tomsk. I think my Russia got a lot better after I joined the organization.

 How often did you have class?

We had Russian Language classes from Monday to Saturday for three hours each day. And we have other classes like History, Literature, and Social Studies.

 Did you enjoy your Russian classes?

Yeah, I liked them but sometimes I feel so bored. It's every day for three hours in doing one subject. But overall I enjoy it.

 Were you able to solve any language difficulties which you had?

For me, understanding what Russians say was really hard, especially when they speak quickly. It's so difficult. I still don't understand 100 percent now. It depends on who I'm speaking with. It depends on the person's accent, intonation and speed.

 Do you think that the preparatory faculty prepared you well in the given time period?

Yes. It's really helped me.

 Are you satisfied with your knowledge and ability in Russian at the moment?

I am not satisfied. I still have to learn more because Russian is pretty hard. In September I will study with Russians. They have been learning Russian for 18 years, and I just learnt Russian for 8 months. It's crazy. So I still need to learn more.

 What are you doing to improve your Russian at the moment?

I keep practicing. Now, I don't have classes so I speak with my friends.

 What cultural differences did you experience in Tomsk?

It's rare to speak with foreigners and to meet foreigners in Indonesia. But the atmosphere here is really different. And I really like it. I can meet people from all over the world. It has really encouraged me, because I want to be a diplomat.

 Were Russian foods easy to adjust to?

Some of them I like, and some of them not so much. I cannot eat pork, so I have to chose more carefully. The only Russian food that seems strange to me is borscht, but I like the others, like plov and pelmeni.

 What have you done to adjust to the longer summer day?

I can sleep with the sun. It doesn't bother me much.

 And what about Ramadan?

I can also adjust to that. The day is so long about 20 to 21 hours, whereas in my country it's only 14 hours. In Muslim religion, if you can't fast during Ramadan I can fast at another time, for instance during winter.

 What will you be doing next in life?

I will move to Kazan to study International Relations at the Kazan Federal University, and also I want to volunteer at the Indonesian embassy in August because there is a project which will be carried out there, in Moscow.

 *AIESEC was formerly known by its acronym “Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales” which is translated as the International Association of Students in Science, Economics, and Commerce.