The language barrier and living as a foreigner in a strange city will present a variety of challenges. Culture shock and cultural differences specific to Russia will be discussed in detail during orientation, but it is a good idea to begin preparing yourself for some of these challenges now.
During your stay in Russia, you will need to adapt to new patterns of behavior. The best way to begin this is to keep in mind how you as an American appear to local citizens. Notice the differences in the behavior of students of your gender and age. Our participants do not go to Russia deliberately indifferent to local sensibilities. However, some customs and attitudes differ from ours, and it is possible to offend someone unintentionally. You will also sometimes be offended by the behavior and comments of Russians. Be aware that some prejudices against black people, Asians, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and Jews, etc. are common in Russian culture and are often spoken of openly.