I began my studies in the RPSS Department as a freshman on a whim. At that time, the only things I knew about Russia came from stories about my mother’s travels as a junior naval officer during the Cold War; I viewed Russia only as America’s past enemy and a curiosity. Since then I’ve learned through classes about Russian language, government, culture, art, and history, and with the St. Petersburg program I began to understand the essence of the Russian people and realize that my past perceptions of them were misinformed and unfair. These experiences significantly altered my values and priorities as an American student and citizen. They opened my eyes to the merits of incorporating diverse cultural perspectives into improving American systems and ideas, which, as I soon realized, are not as great as I originally thought they were. Consequently, I plan to continue developing a more globalized way of thinking by pursuing veterinary school outside the US for the next four years, something I’d never have thought to do four years ago.