Updated: May 3, 2021
When you’ve decided that you want to pursue a future within the Russian speaking world, whether it be in business, politics, journalism, technology, or any other field, the next steps can seem daunting. Many students face similar challenges when met with building a network within their fields, but there is an added challenge when many of your connections are located on the other side of the world. However, thanks to foundations such as the RAF and your schools’ own Slavic and Russian departments, there are many opportunities for students to build these connections working within already established frameworks. Here are some steps to branching out and staying connected:
1. Attend Russian/Slavic department events
Sometimes it’s hard to squeeze extra commitments into your already busy schedule, but if you have a Slavic or Russian department at your school, take advantage of any events they may host. Oftentimes they will invite speakers from the Russian speaking world who have a lot of valuable information and years of experience to share with students just like you. Even if they may be speaking on a subject that is different from your area of study or interests, the knowledge they impart can still be useful. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and introduce yourself when appropriate - you never know how the connections you make now can help you later on!
2. Subscribe to newsletters
Russia-related Newsletters, just like the USRP’s, are incredibly informative and provide topical information for students who want to stay up-to-date on events taking place within the Russian-speaking world. Many schools’ Russian and Slavic departments have their own newsletters that help students stay informed on events happening on campus and possible internship/job opportunities. They may also include information that is otherwise difficult to find on your own. You may also want to subscribe to newsletters outside of your own academic institution as those often contain information relevant to anyone interested in the Russian-speaking world. We have provided a comprehensive list here.
3. Reach out to your professors
We already know that Russian professors are a vault of knowledge, but their insight extends beyond verb tenses and declensions. Your professors likely have their own intricate network of professionals that they’ve built throughout their career, and, chances are, there is someone on their list who might be instrumental to your own career. Some professors offer their own research assistant opportunities open to students, or may know of other professors, across departments, who work with Russian-speaking students.
4. Maintain your connections
If you have studied abroad, or are planning to study abroad, the abundance of connections you make in your time in Russia, or other Russian-speaking countries, will prove to be incredibly beneficial. Your host family, professors, classmates, and possible employers are all inside links you have to Russia and to any future travel, education, or work opportunities - many of which are built on internal connections.
Whether you have narrowed down your interests and have a clear vision for your future career, or you just have a vague idea, every connection you make will be beneficial and rewarding to your future and development. Not everyone you meet will share your interests and provide relevant opportunities, but every interaction serves as a stepping stone to help lead you in the right direction.