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First Blog

Posted by jamie on the 07 September 2012

Jamie's got a blog!

This blog will be an honest reflection of my life here in Moscow!

I would love to say that my first two weeks in Moscow have been amazing but all I can say is that it has been an experience. A combination of moving to a new country, new culture, new language, moving into a strange tower block apartment, moving to another apartment, writing a Master's thesis, starting a new job and then a change in job role has certainly rocked my emotions since I arrived. The past two weeks have been the most challenging weeks of my life!

My first few days in Moscow was not easy, arriving at immigration was like a like a scene from the old movies of people immigrating to the new world. Literally approximately 1000 people, all different nationalities, all speaking different languages, 30C heat, no air conditioning, crammed into a small area with no queue system whatsoever! It took three hours to get the obligatory work visa stamped and welcomed to the Russian Federation with a nod from the immigration officer.

Moscow has lived up to its reputation of being a mixture of Russian, Western, European, Eastern and Asian culture. The thing is about Russia is that one must remember that it's HUGE! It is the world's largest country and has one of the most diverse populations in the world. The Russian people that I have met so far and work with are extremely kind, generous and friendly.

The school I'm working at is regarded as one of, if not thee best school in Moscow. I am now unexpectedly teaching, the 3rd and 5th grade - (Primary 4 and 7 for Scotland) a mixture of English Inquiries (Enquires in British English - the correct way in my opinion haha), Drama, Crafts and Technology. It is a Russian school using an international curriculum. I'm starting to learn that at this school you need to be flexible structure wise. Unlike at home where we are guided through timetables, forms and such like, here its all up to me. I've decided to go for a teaching approach that is in tune with what I learnt studying Community Education; a critical pedagogy approach emphasising  on more visual learning and group work,  so far its worked with the help of youtube, my famous prezi presentations and just shouting random Russian words. Oh and my new apartment is in the school - yes I stay in the school… in the basement.

What I have found amazing is the amount of Russian I have learnt in just two weeks. As a native English speaker, I believe we rely far too much on people speaking English, in my opinion this is laziness and I'm happy to admit that I am lazy when it comes to learning another language. Unlike other countries, English-speaking countries do not enforce language skills. One of the main reasons for me coming here was for the opportunity to learn Russian. As it's regarded as an United Nations major language, it would hopefully help me achieve my goal working for the United Nations. I've just remembered - how funny is it that I've spent the past year learning Mandarin - but that's another story for another time!

After four months of writing my dissertation on "How museums are increasing their commitment to new and wider audiences", it was submitted this Wednesday, there is no word I can say - but thank goodness its over! I finally feel that my period of education from Whitehill, Glasgow Uni, Strathclyde Uni, Vienna Uni and St Andrews Uni is now over. As I believe in life long learning, I will never say no to another degree or maybe PhD haha- my Mum and John has probably said "not again" reading that sentence.

Although I have travelled all over, volunteered and studied abroad several times and think nothing of going it alone adventure wise - this has been the first time I have truly experienced home sickness or as some Google searches call it "expat-flu". The past two weeks has reminded me how much my family and friends mean to me, I don't say this enough but I am truly blessed with an amazing family and the best of friends anyone could of asked for. I need to remember that no matter where I am in the world they are always with me in my heart and mind. This month I am expecting a very large phone bill.

Winston Churchill famously said that "Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma". I completely agree Winston! I have decided to embrace this opportunity to visit the worlds largest country, historically rich, politically powerful and learn the lingo. First blog over and out!

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