Ben Cohen on Study Abroad in Russia

Ben Cohen '16 started studying Russian at Pomona two years ago and has been hooked ever since. He is now a Russian and Eastern European Studies (REES)/international relations major studying in St. Petersburg, Russia, with the Bard-Smolny program. He chose the program because it allows him to both take university classes with local students and Russian courses for non-native speakers. “After two years of finding my niche for what I love to study, experiencing it in the one place where I can really make sense of it all is a wonderful feeling.” His time in Russia has been challenging too, as it has forced him to use the skills he developed at Pomona – constant questioning, critical thinking, looking at the bigger picture – to understand different beliefs. But despite the challenges, “Russia is an amazing, complex country filled with incredible people,” says Cohen. “With fall already moving into winter and the days growing markedly shorter, many would say it's a cold place to be. To me, however, you don't need sunshine here to feel the warmth – that is what I am enjoying most about studying abroad.”