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Russian, Summer Fellowship

Brian Rinz

“If provided with the financial means to do so, I plan to study Russian language and culture this summer at the Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH) in Moscow. The program will provide an ideal linguistic and cultural immersion setting, which I believe will catalyze learning and improve my fluency in speech, as well as my ability to read, write, and understand Russian to levels that would be otherwise unobtainable while studying in the United States. As a Russian and International Studies (Slavic & Eastern European Studies) major, achieving a high level of competency in Russian is especially important to me.

From personal experience, I can say this study abroad program will substantially help in enhancing my Russian proficiency. Last summer, after completing my first year of Russian, I took part in this same program at RSUH. After spending eight weeks studying in Moscow, I felt my language skills had improved tremendously. I did not merely imagine this improvement, my score on the oral proficiency test administered prior to departure and upon return rose from “Novice-High” to “Intermediate- Low” in two months. I now feel that, with an even more solidified grasp on the basics of Russian through another year of study, I am in prime position to advance my skills to the next level, making study abroad even more important and useful, in my opinion.

My aspirations, however, are not limited to excelling academically and graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Russian. I also plan to eventually attend graduate school and earn a Master’s degree in Russian area studies. More importantly, however, I fully intend to use the knowledge and skills I acquire as an undergraduate and graduate to serve the government of the United States. Since high school, I have considered a career in government service. In my opinion, my skill set, attitude, work ethic, and motivations would be best employed in this kind of setting. I have a strong desire to work for something greater than myself that contributes to the well being of the world. I have already considered many different outlets to accomplish this. Thus far, I have researched linguist careers in the Army and the Air Force, various positions in the CIA, NSA, and other such institutions. I have also looked into options at the United Nations. I have attended many of the government career fairs on campus and been in e-mail contact with various people associated with some of these agencies.

The most enticing prospect that I have contemplated, however, is a career in the Department of State, possibly as a Foreign Service Officer. I have applied for an internship with the State Department at the Moscow embassy for summer 2011, for which I was not chosen as a primary selectee, but I still plan to apply for the internship again in the fall or the spring. Working for the government is my ultimate career goal and I am completely dedicated to its pursuit. In academics, I have always strived to challenge myself to achieve at the highest possible level and still improve every quarter. My future work in the government will be no different. My motivation to gain knowledge in my areas of specialization and succeed in the future is only matched by my desire to leave behind a stronger United States and a better world than I inherited. I can promise that any investment into my future will not be squandered.”