Colin Johnson

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Major: International Studies
Minor: Russian Studies
Estonia - direct enrollment for Spring semester of 2009
Russia - Maymester in 2008; 7-week internship in summer of 2009

My name is Colin Johnson, I′m a senior and an International Studies major with a Russian Studies minor.  I focus my studies on former-USSR politics, and this interest led me to Eastern Europe.  My first time abroad I went on the Rhodes Maymester in 2008 to study the Russian language in St Petersburg, Russia at the Gornyi Institute.  It was a fantastic opportunity to live in the "European capital" of Russia for a month and begin my immersion into Russian culture.  In the Spring of 2009, I spent a semester at the University of Tartu in Tartu, Estonia.  I didn′t go on a program - I just direct enrolled to the university in the Transitional Studies program to study post-USSR development.  I fell in love with Estonian language and culture, and I was also able to continue my cross-country/track training while abroad, as I trained with Estonia′s Olympic coach.  It was a great experience, and I miss running on the ice and snow!  I then spent the summer of 2009 in Novgorod, Russia to work for seven weeks in an internship program that works with the social rehabilitation of orphans.  It was my first experience living with a host family for an extended period of time, and while my Russian was stretched to its absolute limits, I miss the cooking and laughter of my Russian family.  I want others to go off the beaten track and find their own story in places that are often overlooked.  Go East if you′re going to Europe!  It′s great!!