Under the Button is part of a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Huntsman Student With Target Language in Russian Now Has to Live in Russia Next Semester


Photo from elianemey / CC0

Meet Ali Johnson, a freshman from the Upper East Side of Manhattan and a young intellectual in the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business. For a variety of reasons related to international affairs, Johnson decided that her target language would be Russian.

Yesterday, Johnson realized that was a mistake because she is now obligated to live there all next term. Yikes!

Monday morning, Johnson received her host family placement for her mandatory term abroad. The Kuznetsovs, who she will be living with, are a family of four from the rural Krasnoyarsk region of central Russia. They live in an agricultural community a convenient 20 minutes outside of Bashkir State University, the government-run Russian university Johnson will be attending. In an interview, Johnson said the concept of this family is “super cool.”

-I love the idea of these people, you know? Conceptually, these are the people who make me want to fix the US-Russia relationship. What did these people, who are just living their lives, ever do to the US? In the future, I want to work to protect their freedoms,” Johnson said, “but, no, I don’t really want to stay at their home next term. It’s just… I don’t like beets. I feel like they would eat a lot of beets, right?”

When asked if there was specifically something wrong with her host family that is turning her off to the program, Johnson quickly said no.

“Oh, no, I mean, there’s nothing wrong with them. They seem like a lovely family. I just… I want to study foreign relations, you know? Like, I want to make policy, create change and initiate peace in our world. But, like, I would describe the ideal place to do that from would be probably not Russia,” said Johnson.