They found me a host family in Nizhny Novgorod, the fifth largest city in Russia. I spent one year with this amazing family, completely different than my family in Serbia. There I figured out how Serbs and Russians actually have different mentality, even though we are linked by religion, traditions, and Slavic origin. Thanks to my host family, I learned to organize my time and have an opportunity to experience the so-called 'soviet education'. As a teenager, who was supposed to live there for only 10 months, this was very interesting and useful. For every day, I am more and more grateful to my 'second' family and for the things I have learnt while living with them. I am proud to call them my family and they will always be. But the time that I have spent with my Russian family also helped me to realize how much I love my family back home and that I should appreciate every small thing they do for me.
"Serbs and Russians actually have different mentality, even though we are linked by religion, traditions, and Slavic origin."
After my exchange year, I thought that would be nice to continue with studying in Russia. I wanted to study international relations and Russian diplomacy is known as one of the best. So, I was looking for possible scholarships. And I found one! The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered me to study for free at the best university for international relations in Moscow.
"Life here is definitely not easy, but there is something special about it."
And now here I am, just finished with the second year of bachelor studies. Russia and my university gave me so much. I am endlessly grateful that I have got such opportunity. Russia is definitely part of me now. Part of my soul, my thoughts, my way of thinking. This country has taught me a lot, how to live and to appreciate everything I've got. Life here is definitely not easy, but there is something special about it. Something that only Russians can understand, and make foreigners coming back here over and over again. I have two years left in Russia, before I would like to go somewhere new. Somewhere where everything is completely different. Because once you go out of your comfort zone, you cannot stop exploring new things. But one thing I have learnt for sure, I can travel a lot and meet different countries, but I will always consider my little Serbia as my home and the place where I feel the best and always welcomed.
By Aleksandar Todorovic from Serbia in Russia.