Photo courtesy of Sarah Stone

Deciding to forgo the typical Spanish or French route and enroll in Russian, Sarah Stone, a 3rd year INTA major, quickly became interested in the language and the complex country. Her interest in Russia coupled with her international affairs background ultimately landed her an internship working at the United States Embassy in Russia last fall.

“I learned a lot as a State Department intern. I learned a lot about the life and job of a foreign service officer and working at an Embassy,” Stone shared. “I sharpened my skills by researching and writing analytic cables and articles, and I learned so much about important issues between the US and Russia.”

By working as an US intern in Russia amidst the Crimea crisis, Stone certainly saw the strained relationship between the US and Russia from a firsthand perspective.

“It was very interesting to be there as more developments occurred in the Crimea crisis. There is definitely a tension between the US and Russia. Most activities such as projects or collaboration efforts have been frozen since the Crimea crisis,” said Stone.

Moreover, during her time, she also learned “that diplomacy is a very interesting, complex, and sometimes tricky world.” Her internship even presented her with the opportunity to sit in on a meeting with the current US ambassador to Russia. She refers to the experience as “incredible.”

Although she believes the Russian media pushes anti-American propaganda, Stone didn’t see “any anti-American propaganda day-to-day.” Instead, she saw more ads featuring the beloved leader, Vladimir Putin.

When asked if the Russian population truly adores Putin, Stone responds with a solid affirmation.

“Yes, people really do love Putin. They view him as a powerful figure that makes Russia more powerful in the world, hence the pictures of Putin shirtless riding a bear,” claimed Stone.

Even with the Putin adoration,  she saw the overall Russian population as “very nice and friendly.” She was even invited to tea by a Russian babushka, otherwise known as grandmother, after talking to the babushka for forty-five minutes while waiting for a bus.

Stone is currently open to returning to Russia one day and is now strongly considering joining the Foreign Service after her US Embassy intern experience.