Complicating matters, I was not only a sophomore in the U.S. But I was still a senior in Russia. During this time period, in 2010-11, I was attending two schools in two countries. I was going to school here and in the evenings I would do work for Russia and email it back there. I had to do all of my Russian studies on my own, and that made them harder than they would otherwise have been. When school was on break in the U.S., I would fly back to Russia to work on my studies over there. Thankfully, I was able to manage these challenges. At the end of the Russian school year, I was able to take the exam and I passed it.
In a way, it was better than I was doing both of these courses of study because social life was non-existent anyway. I had no family, so the studying provided me with a little bit of structure, and a link back to Russia. I think communicating was so hard for me in that first year. My English kept getting better as the year went by, but it started so poorly that I was really unable to express myself in any complex way. As a result, it was hard to make friends as well. That part of my immigrant experience was terrible. I really was on my own, since making friends was so hard. My family and friends in Russia were supportive, but there is only so much they can do from so far away. Also, they were not experiencing the things that I was experiencing. Even little everyday things were sometimes challenging, they were so different from home.
No matter how difficult things were at first, I am very glad to have made the decision to come to the United States. I held this dream for such a long time, and thought about it a lot. I think that dream helped me to work through all of the challenges and keep strong through it all. Now, I love it here. My English is much better. I have friends and fit in perfectly with American life. I think coming to the United States was the best decision that I ever made. I would love to be able to stay here, and play my part in building this great country.
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