Wednesday, June 9, 2010

There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

The Critical Language Scholarship is a US State Department and American Councils collaboration that sends university students for an eight week intensive language program in a host country. I will be in Ufa, Russia. Ufa... somewhere west of the Urals, east of the Volga... Siberia.

Yesterday, I flew from Tampa into Washington DC for a meet and greet and orientation. This morning's talks began at 8:30 am and ended over twelve hours later. Over sixty students were taking part in the pre-departure orientation, some of us are studying in Ufa, others Kazan and a brave few are heading to Baku, Azerbaijan.

During this orientation we signed a form pledging to speak Russian exclusively, on campus, with our host families, with our peer tutors and on CLS sponsored functions. We were also assured that this endeavor would leave us exhaust at the end of every day.

Tomorrow we leave DC around 4:00 pm and land in Moscow about 10 am Friday morning. After a seven hour layover in Moscow we will continue our journey on Siberia Airlines, and arrive in Ufa about 9:30 pm.

I wish the best of luck to all students participating in the CLS scholarship programs in all languages. I especially send my best wishes to those students traveling to Kazan and Baku, who I have gotten to know over the past twenty-four hours.

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