Thursday, September 5, 2013

Impressions of American culture in Russia

English is a world-wide language (which is exactly why I'm here teaching it to kids everyday.) Not only have I noticed a lot of English imprints in Russia, but also purely American things as well. Walking into the grocery store down the street, you will find plenty of Russian foods, home items, ect. But you also can find lots of familiar brands that I would see at home. Two days ago, for example, I was searching for some chocolates, and came across M&M's. Something I didn't expect to see (although I ended up buying European chocolate)! Along with that I bought some "Dove" body-wash.

There is also a "Burger King" down the street from us, and we've seen several "McDonalds" going to and from the places we have to be at. Pepsi, Coke, and other soft drinks are all prevalent here. Walking around town or going down the long escalator ride to the metro, you will find advertisements...some with English translations or titles. I've also seen several posters for Selena Gomez (an American pop singer), who probably is coming here on tour soon.

The point of this whole post is to note that I have seen quite a bit of American/English influence here (taking note that, dominantly, things here are Russian)...yet we don't see any Russian influence at home. Walking into Walmart or any other store at home, I haven't ever seen or wouldn't expect to see any Russian brands. But here it is quite often to see English packaging and advertisements. At home as well I have never seen any advertisements for Russian pop stars on tour.

Last night I ate dinner with my host family, and afterwards spent a few minutes watching cartoons with my host siblings. I was surprised to find that the programs they were watching were American shows, with Russian translation voices overpowering the English the characters were speaking (am I making sense? haha.)

Riding on the metro this past week, I have seen a few girls/women wearing more "Western" clothes; some with imprints of the American flag or having the trendy "Native-American" tribal-print vibe, which is going on right now.

Very interesting, no? (I'm going to apologize now if all these comparison posts are boring you.)

Anyway. As for myself, an American, trying to blend in with the Eastern Europeans, it's been alright. You have to be more reserved in public. Which we all have been decently good at it. I'm sure that we do stand out sometimes (even from our facial know how, for example, you can tell if someone is foreign?), but in the past week we have been stopped by a few Russians who started talking to us maybe to ask us something, and we had to reply "Nyet Rooski" (probably not the correct spelling for the term, but I'm doing my best ;) ) which means "No Russian." We felt good, though, that they had tried to talk to us, maybe because they thought we ourselves were Russian? Our whole group can speak basic Russian (some more than others) but it definitely is difficult if someone fluent tries to talk with us!

If you guys have any questions, let me know! I love your comments, and I love hearing from you!



  1. I love, love, LOVE waking up to your blog posts!!! Its so very fun to hear about your every day experiences there. We're going to start gathering things to send a care package your way soon. Any special requests of things from home? Also, we're going to give Grandma R. some lessons on how to use her computer better so she can reply a comment to you. She's tried a few times and can't seem to do it yet. Love you tons!!!

  2. So cool hope your havimg tons of fun ! Miss you