Jordan Matosky (St. Petersburg Fall 2014)
Alumna Jordan Matosky discusses her time abroad and how her scholarship helped her make new friends on the basketball court while bridging cultural differences.
Advanced Russian and Area Studies Program participant Jordan Matosky was recently awarded an Outbound scholarship to help finance her Fall 2014 study abroad in St. Petersburg. Through the program, Jordan was exposed to all kinds of cultural and language learning opportunities. Overall she says that time in the program helped her “gain a better view of the world and understanding of other cultures.”
For Jordan, playing basketball with a university team in Russia proved to be one of the most memorable study abroad experiences. As a college player back home, in order to keep up her skills while she was abroad, Jordan sought out opportunities to play and practice basketball while in Russia. After finding an outdoor court on her campus as well as near her home, she regularly braved the cold weather to practice her basketball skills.
Eventually, after learning about it from a teacher in the American Councils program, Jordan participated in tryouts for the new women’s basketball team at her university. Weeks later, she was invited to practice with the team. At the end of the first practice, the coach asked her to stay for the men’s basketball team practice. The following week she practiced again with both the women’s and men’s basketball team.
Throughout the whole experience, Jordan utilized the Russian she had been learning through RLASP to get to know her teammates and explain different basketball skills and strategies to them. Jordan describes her time playing basketball at her Russian university as “a very special experience…because it created a common language between everyone despite being from such different places.” The shared love for basketball between Jordan and her Russian teammates helped them bridge cultural differences and develop closer social bonds and friendship. Thus her experience helped her to not only maintain her basketball abilities but to also make a meaningful connection with other local Russians.
In the future, Jordan hopes to continue to maintain her Russian language skills as part of her career. She wants to work for an international chemical company where she can use her Russian.
To read more about Jordan's experiences in Russia, check out her blog on our AC Russia Abroad website.
Jordan’s Outbound Scholarship would not have been possible without generous donations from staff, program alumni, and private supporters. The Outbound Scholarships are part of the American Councils Study Abroad Scholarship Fund, established to provide students with additional financial support for studying in Russia, Eurasia, and the Balkans.
However, each year, American Councils can only cover approximately 35 percent of applicants’ financial needs, meaning talented students must decline acceptance because they cannot afford the program. Help us support and grow the American Councils Study Abroad Scholarship Fund, which provides life-changing learning experiences in Eurasia and the Balkans to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students like Jordan!