Yale University Class of 2011 (BA, MA)
College of Law Class of 2013 (LLB)
Studying Russian at Yale was undoubtedly the most important, most rewarding and best academic decision of my time at the university. The small size of the department, combined with the unparalleled passion and dedication of the faculty, means that there is great flexibility in your language study, especially at higher levels. My history senior thesis, focusing on Stalinist cultural policy in the 1930s, benefited greatly from my Russian professor’s close focusing upon issues of history, politics, society and historiography during one-on-one tutorials, enabling me to build an incredibly deep, focused vocabulary in the areas I needed. And my work in the anthropology department, as a research assistant to a professor working on a book pertaining to Russia’s oil industry, was also greatly enhanced by the department’s commitment to tailoring each student’s experiences of the language. This has ultimately helped inform my choice of career: I will be working as a lawyer, specializing in the energy and natural resources sectors, for a multinational law firm headquartered in London, but with an office in Moscow where I will also be working. Russian, therefore, has for me proven a greatly practical language, with profound positive consequences for my academic and professional careers. However, perhaps Russian’s greatest features are its elegance (linguistics majors- there’s not a better-constructed language out there), its beauty, and the absolutely incredible culture that it opens up for its students. Russian literature and theater are amongst the most beautiful, provocative and important in the world, and the opportunity to engage with them in their original formats is a hugely enriching experience, and one that I would advocate anyone with even the smallest interest in the language to pursue.