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Russia is not a country; it is a world inside the world

Russia is not a country; it is a world inside the world

Living in Russia we don’t notice many things about us, for example, the way we live or associate with other people. But foreigners, who come here to live and study, have their own vision of Russia and Russians. Riccardo Amedeo, an Italian 17 year- old boy, tells us about his discovery of our country and people.

My relationship with Russia, I can say, started four years ago, when in Italy I started studying Russian in my high school. I don't know why I have decided to begin learning this language; I was just so attracted by it and by Russia itself. I have started studying it hard and with curiosity not also about the language but about the country in which it is spoken, too. Your culture and your past have always attracted me.

In June 2011 I was in St. Petersburg with my schoolmates in a two weeks stage, focused on the improving of our skills in Russian. In my opinion it was only an "introduction" in your daily routine habits. I learnt the main lines of your traditions, or that was I thought. And I was sure that I knew much about you and your country. But now I understand that it was only my first steps in learning your life.

I came to Alexandrov last August as an AFS student. Everybody here made me feel like at home, so the cultural shock was really smoothed by your cheerful mood towards me. The things that I really love here is your warmly way that reserve every day to me. I love the story that Alexandrov had an interesting past, with mythic characters as Ivan the Terrible. In few words I can simply say that I love Russia, and I'm starting feeling like a real Russian.

I’ve visited a lot of interesting cities here, in Russia: Moscow, St.Petersburg, Sergiev Posad, Uglich and Yaroslavl, Sochi, Kazan. All these places will remain in my heart for the rest of my life. They gave me new experience and all their magic.

I certainly spend a lot of time with my friends here. What can I say about the Russian youth? Russian teens are almost like teens in Italy. A lot of Italian teenagers also smoke and drink, but I have to say that here really a big part of the population smokes, much more than in Italy. That's a really big problem for both countries, but nowadays we can say for the entire world. Like in Italy, Russian teenagers like a lot to listen to music and to spend time with friends. They are very friendly and kind, so it was easy to make friends here. I will really miss a lot of guys that I have met here.

I will tell my friends how the school here is so different from ours, but in the meanwhile very educative and also funny, and I will tell everybody how Alexandrov made me feel home and a part of this country. This corner of earth will always be in my heart. So as you can understand by my words, I will suggest everybody to come to Russia!

Anyway I have to be honest with you about one point. It troubles me a lot. Especially I noticed it in many Russians. I simply cannot go through it not only as an AFS student but more because I'm a citizen of the world... I hate the fact that some Russians can really be so racist against people of some countries of middle Asia or Caucasus area. I feel bad when I hear some bad comments against them because I feel hurt as a human being of this planet. I feel bad not only in Russia but all over the world when I hear this kind of comments. Just think that 20 years ago you were the one nation and you called each other brothers. This country is too intelligent to fall in such stupid things, I'm sure that in a few years all of you will think like me. One of the point of AFS is sharing love and unifying people of all countries in the world, and as a part of this organization I try to spread this message in the world. Maybe I alone will not do so much but as Gandhi said "drop by drop the sea was created".

Nonetheless I have to say that I really love your country. Russia is not a country; it is a world inside the world, an attractive place that everybody should see.

Elena Sibirina,

photo by Elena Kulikova.


Журнал "Микстура", апрель 2013

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