Student Testimonials

“Minoring in Russian was possibly the best decisions I made at Rhodes. I consistently looked forward to every class. Professor Kostina teaches in such a way that makes the language feel doable, yet you learn more than you realize. The best advice I can give to an incoming student is to step out of your comfort zone and enroll in Russian 101.” -Andrew Smith ’22

“I have had a fascination with Russian history and language for many years, and the Russian Department at Rhodes College offered a wide array of courses on Russian language, culture, history, and politics. I graduated with an expanded understanding of Russian and Eastern European politics and culture which I now use daily working at an immigration law firm. Considering the recent socio-political developments in Eastern Europe, the study of Eastern European and Russian politics, history, and language has become increasingly more important. The Russian program at Rhodes allows those who speak Russian and those who don’t to gain an understanding of many facets of the «Русская Душа» (Russian Soul), and to learn about a fascinating and under-studied region of the world.” -Mary Thomas ‘21

“The Russian language department at Rhodes offers students the unique opportunity to learn not only the Russian language but the cultures and traditions that make up Russia and some Russian-speaking countries.

"During my time at Rhodes I had the chance to learn from different Russian teaching assistants on the Fulbright program. They offered unique perspectives on their life in Russia, especially modern, pop culture in Russia. Their integration in our learning helped engage us in the Russian language outside of classes by listening to music and watching tv shows in Russian.

"The Russian Club in coordination with our language classes gave students the opportunity to participate in different Russian holidays and traditions like Maslenitsa, Novy God, and Orthodox Easter. For Maslenitsa, we would gather on campus to make and eat bliny, and Professor Kostina would bring us a Maslenitsa effigy to burn, and short Russian poems to read. For Easter, Professor Nolan invited us to the local Orthodox church in Memphis where we participated in the midnight service on Holy Saturday.

"These cultural-lingual engagements ultimately helped prepare many of our for study abroad interactions and international postgraduate opportunities in Russia or post-Soviet countries.” -Alisa Redding '18, Fulbright

“I really enjoyed my experience in the Russian department at Rhodes College. As a double major, my courses sometimes conflicted and Professor Kostina always went above and beyond to make sure I was able to pursue my academic goals within the Russian department. Professor Kostina's courses were always engaging and superbly planned. Her courses challenged me to think differently and expand my knowledge. Professor Kostina's teaching style is very effective and at the end of each course I really felt like I had a strong command of the material presented to me. The classes I took within the Russian department were some of my favorite courses I experienced at Rhodes College. 

"Since graduating, I have been working as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Estonia. Many of the activities I do with my students are modeled after lessons I participated in at Rhodes. My experience learning the Russian language helped me to prepare to teach a language myself. Although I am living in Kuressaare (located on Saaremaa island) and most people primarily speak Estonian, I am currently helping some Ukrainian students to learn English. My knowledge of Russian has helped me learn some Ukrainian and made it easier for me to communicate with them. I would not be nearly as successful in my Fulbright position without my experience in the Russian department at Rhodes College.” -Carley Jo Goggins ’22 Fulbright