It felt so strange to know that at this point a year ago I was so scared about going to Russia and staying there for a whole year. Partly because I am not a huge fan of flying so the prospect of being on a plane for 4 hours did some seem fun, I was heading to a country that I had never been to that and I didn't really know any of the other people attending my course. Scary stuff. But as I had already paid for the flights, gone to the trouble of getting a visa, had all the various injections and well pretty much told everyone that I knew that I was going to Russia for a year there wasn't really anyway of getting out of it.
However despite being scared at the beginning the year in Moscow was without a doubt one of the best things I have ever done, it's amazing what you can actually do and what you learn once you leave your comfort zone. It is hard to convey the feeling you have on your first night; a mix of excitement, total fear and confusion, as I had no idea exact where I was located in Moscow, how to get to the nearest metro station, what ticket I needed to buy, how much it would cost, was I being ripped off etc. That and I knew that everything had to be done in Russian.
While starting off was a hugely scary experience it was fun, once you have sorted out the basics eg buying new mobile phone and sim card, working out how to get to school and to home, where the nearest pub is etc it's actually quite fun. It is also a fresh start and means that you can try new experiences and make friends with people who you might not have ever spoken to had you not all been stuck in the same place. It also give you the chance to explore a totally new country and have amazing stories to tell your children and grandchildren.
To anyone reading this who is about to go on their year abroad or has just arrived to start off with it's terrifying, there is no point in lying it is, but once you are settled and got everything sorted it is the best experience you could have. The most important thing to do is just talk to everyone and remember to laugh when it all goes wrong! In fact a part of me is wishing that it was a year ago today so that I could experience my year abroad all over again.