When I first arrived at the Hamilton Lugar School at Indiana University, I knew I was interested in foreign affairs but I was not sure which subjects in particular I wanted to study.
However, during my first few weeks of class, I found my home in the IU Russian Flagship program. Winston Churchill once called Russia “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” His timeless description aptly describes my fascination with Russia and the wider post-Soviet world as a whole. As a member of the Russian Flagship, I can apply my newfound language skills to indulge in my interest in this beautiful country as well as prepare myself for a fulfilling career in the future.
The Russian Flagship Program is just one of three outstanding intensive language programs offered at the Hamilton Lugar School. Between the Russian, Arabic, and Chinese Flagship programs, HLS students study the languages and cultures of billions of people, opening up a new world of possibilities. These languages are useful in a variety of future career paths, including business, defense, medicine, and more. Flagship students do not have to major in international studies. The training offered by our Flagships can be paired with almost any major imaginable at Indiana University.
Personally, I am combining my Russian language training from the Flagship with the pursuit of greater cultural and political knowledge of the region through my international studies degree. In my degree, I am following the Diplomacy, Security, and Governance concentration, where I focus on the foreign policy, grand strategy, and international relations of the Russian-speaking world. I am especially interested in nuclear strategy and hope to use the skills I gain through my HLS degree to pursue a career in nuclear affairs and nonproliferation studies in the future.
To help me achieve that dream, HLS and the Russian Flagship provide innumerable opportunities to expand my knowledge and my language ability. Every year I love attending our America’s Role in the World foreign policy conference. The experts that visit Indiana University for this event are incredible. I was especially honored that during the 2020 conference former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch answered one of my questions. She also agreed with me that Russian grammar is tough! Thankfully, the Russian Flagship helps me practice every week with free private Russian tutoring, cultural events, conversation hours, and film screenings. This semester, I even have the opportunity to chat with fellow students from St. Petersburg’s Higher School of Economics.
Every single day at HLS I learn something new. Back in high school when I was not sure what to study in college, I had no idea that I would eventually find my home in Bloomington at Indiana University. Each morning during the week when I come in to work as a secretary for the Office of the Dean, I am constantly reminded of our mission at HLS to seek solutions for the global challenges we face today and in the future, as well as to simply appreciate the fascinating complexity and beauty of our world and its many cultures.