Tuesday, September 7, 2010

High School: 5 years and 3 countries

So it’s official, I am now a Super-Senior. I started my 5th year of high school on September 1st. I was really ready to start school on September first because I wanted to have something to do every day. I am liking Russia just fine but the days were getting a little boring without having specific planned activities every day so when that first day arrived I was really nervous and excited all at the same time.

So about a week before school started we met with the principal of my school and she informed us that all the exchange students: me, Jenia and Laura (a girl from Germany), would need to do a small speech in Russian. I was very very nervous for this but my host sister helped me practice it over and over for that week. Basically I had to say “Hi, My name is Kendra Wagner. I am American. I am 18 years old and I will be studying in your school this year” that’s it.. Seems easy enough right? Well it was but I was still very scared.

The day before school started my host sister and I went to buy flowers. Which seemed weird to me but she said it was normal to buy flowers for the teachers so I bought flowers. With our flowers in hand we walked to school on that first day; my walk to school is about 20 minutes each way. We had to wear black pants, black shoes, and white shirts to school. When we got there, only the 11th grade class had to be there at 9, we went up to a computer classroom to watch some movie that never ended up working. So we went up to our actual classroom and the teacher talked for a few minutes but even if my life depended on it, I could not tell you what she said to us that first day.

We were then herded outside (it was fairly COLD) to have the first day of school “ceremony” apparently in Russia September first is “the day of knowledge” and it’s a holiday, hence the reason they ALWAYS start on September 1st. Everyone in my class was taking the hands of the little kids, I have no idea why, and I was told to do the same. All I was thinking was, “this little kid understands what’s going on better then I do why am I leading her around?” but alas I took 2 little girls hands and we walked them around the circle of all the kids while the other kids clapped. We then stood a big group and listed to some speeches by the president of the school, some students, and some teachers. There were some songs and some stuff read aloud by the teacher. Then I heard “Kendra Wagner” and I knew it was my time to walk up in front.

Jenia and me made our way up to the front of a group of about 300 students and 50 teachers to give our speeches. I was shaking. I listened to Laura and Jenia give their speeches then it was my turn. I was so nervous but I got it all out, and my sister told me that I did good later that day. The school gave us each an assignment book and a pin.

After the ceremony my class went back up the classroom and we gave the teacher our flowers and then the day was over and we were allowed to go home. YAY the first day only lasted a total of about 3 hours, which was really nice even though I knew that wouldn’t be normal.

So that was my first day of school experience, the following days have not been quite that eventful.

My class is really nice so far; there are about 20 students plus Jenia and I. Its really nice that she is in my class as well because it gives me someone to talk to during the lessons/breaks that doesn’t understand Russian either.

Russian school is a little; okay a lot, different then American schools.

• My class and I travel together from classroom to classroom, so we are always
• together with the same kids but we move rooms every 45 minutes or so.
• The classes last about 45 minutes each
• between each one we have a 10-minute break.
• After the third lesson we have Lunch break, which is only 20 minutes (and I thought the short lunch I had at MHS was bad).
• There are usually only 6 lessons a day.
• Every day there are different lessons
• You’re allowed to openly text during class and the teachers don’t do anything about it
• talking is DEFINITELY allowed
• all in Russian (obviously)
• 8:30 – 2 pm
• no toilette paper in the bathroom
• they call it algebra – but really its calculus

These are a few for now, at the moment school is pretty boring for me but that is to be expected. Jenia and I leave the regular class 1 or 2 hours a day so that we can have our private Russian lessons with the English teacher. We will also be starting elementary school these next few weeks so that we can learn Russian right along with little kids. I’m actually quite excited about that! It should be fun to be in second grade!

School is mostly my life at the moment but I’m okay with that. I understand pretty much 0% of my classes as of now but I’m trying. Russian is a very hard language, it is going to take me a while to get a hold of, and hopefully it will come quickly!

I miss you all A LOT!! I hope everyone is well, I’m doing okay here in Russia but I do miss the USA


  1. Kendra, you have an awesome blog. Don't stop updating it.

    It was really fun to read about your first day of school.

    Russian language is indeed one of the hardest languages of the planet, it's gonna be tough to learn it but I know you can do it :)

  2. You are really brave to take on a place like Russia! Im sure learning the language will be harder than learning Italian, but you can do it:)
    Lol, that made me laugh about the toilet paper situation. In Brazil, it's common to see that too.. maybe theyre lazy to replace it, hahaha.

  3. I was fortunate to visit Uglich two years ago. I look forward to following your blog and reading your observations.

    Have an awesome year!

  4. I just used your blog post as a reference to a paper i'm working on about five years in high school. Thanks a bunch.