Bachelor of Arts | 2019
The University of Arkansas’ Russian language program was a significant attraction when I first endeavored to pick a school for my undergraduate degree. The programming melded with and influenced my decision to add an International Studies degree to my Political Science degree. My classes in Russian also led me to select Europe as my area of focus. Professor Berkovich’s classes were an enriching experience from the very first semester of college.
Bachelors in International Business | 2018
“While learning Russian at the UA, I definitely experienced challenges with the grammar, spelling, etc. I always reminded myself that learning a language so intricate and layered as Russian would help me in my future. As it turns out, I’m currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Business from the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. I have enjoyed many experiences and opportunities in Russia - from participating in bilingual clubs to traveling to different cities and being able to utilize my language skills to enrich my time in this stage in my life. Overall, I believe studying the Russian language, and by default learning more about the culture has enhanced my understanding of the world around me and has taught me to appreciate and love cultural peculiarities that I notice around me in my daily life!”
International Relations and European Studies | 2017
“I'm working as a certified flight instructor at ATP Flight School right now and once I have built up the required hours flying, I intend to get hired by one of the airlines as a pilot. Thus, while learning Russian has not directly impacted my career, it has indirectly. My long-term goal is to work the international flights, which will hopefully have me flying to countries like Russia someday for work. I absolutely love traveling, and studying abroad only increased my love for learning about different cultures, languages, etc. With my career choice, I will have a lot of down time, during which I fully intend to continue improving my Russian, as well as other languages for both work and fun. For future students, I highly recommend studying abroad. It was one of the best choices I made during my college years. Russian might seem intimidating in the beginning, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort, it is well worth it!”
Political Science | 2018
“Learning Russian challenged me in many ways, and expanded my world view. Diving into the language and culture gave me the opportunity to meet and interact with new people who experience the world very differently than I do. I feel that taking Russian not only gave me a useful skill set for the future, but also opened my eyes to a history and culture to which I would not have given much thought otherwise. It was critical in shaping my perspective and pushing me forward intellectually.”
International Business | 2017
“Four years ago, I chose Russian over Spanish or French because I had insomnia and thought, “Hey, that looks harder and like it will take up a bit more time.” If I’m not sleeping, I might as well study something. Fast forward, and here I am living in Moscow, Russia. Russia is like a whirlpool. It pulls everybody in. You don’t know how you got here, you just did. I chose to continue onto my master’s in the Management of Science, Technology, and Innovation at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow because, hey, education is free here.
Master of Fine Arts | 2017
"My relationship with Russia is not an easy one, but my heart is wider and deeper because of the education I received and the close friendships I made there. I read The Master and Margarita standing in packed subway cars, ate many bowls of borsch with sour cream (or mayonnaise), and spent hours drinking tea and eating dried bread with friends at the kitchen table in my apartment. Now, as a translator, my work gives me the chance to return to Russia in some way through the texts in front of me. Russia has a beautiful language and a rich tradition of literature, music, cinema, art, thought, faith, and more. Knowing the language opens the door to all of this – it is a hard language, but one worth the effort."
Irwin co-translated with Robert Chandler and Susan Larsen Andrei Platonov's short stories and plays Fourteen Little Red Huts (Columbia University Press, 2016). Purchase the composition here!