Photo Courtesy of Anthony Bright
Anthony Bright, a UTSA alumnus who majored in Modern Languages Studies and minored in Linguistics, has taken what he learned to the other side of the world.
Bright currently teaches English in the northern Russian port city of Murmansk, the largest city in the Polar Circle, known for its downhill skiing, subarctic climate and icebreakers. Located 1,000 miles north of Moscow on the western side of the country, it would be hard to find a city more different from San Antonio.
Bright’s desire to experience new countries is what drove him to move abroad. He noted that this was also an opportunity to “prove to myself that I can, with relative ease, pick up and move to another country.”
During his days as a college student, he was part of a faculty-led study abroad trip to St. Petersburg and Moscow, headed up by Associate Russian Professor Dr. Marita Nummikoski. These two major cities attract quite a bit of tourism from America and England. Although the trip was eventful, Bright expressed that he wanted to “experience something a little more isolated.”
Since moving to Russia in 2014, Bright has worked as an English as a Second Language (ESL) professor, teaching several courses to Russian students. He was offered the position by a former Russian tutor and instructor at UTSA, and within a few months, he was on a plane.
His impact on the people of Murmansk has been a positive one. With the economic war between Russia and the U.S., the travel bans and asset freezes for incursions into Ukraine territory, Bright is able to show his students and others in the city that “there is a lot of grey in the world.” It’s an opportunity for him to prove that the political differences between the two countries are not always as harsh as the media portrays.
The adjustment to the new culture has not been too difficult for Bright. Having visited Russia with the university beforehand, he knew what he was getting into and wasn’t caught off guard by any of the social norms, such as offering money to cashiers on a plastic plate, not whistling in buildings, or not showing teeth when you smile.
“If someone is easily unaffected by others’ personalities, then he/she should be okay here,” said Bright.
In his free time, Bright likes to spend his days walking around and discovering the city.
He describes the town as “sublime for the calm explorer.” The layout is relatively compact, which gives the illusion that it’s larger than it is, but it pales in comparison to San Antonio’s intricate landscape.
The public transport system and a little walking can open up a wide world of unique places to discover. Not only is the country full of fun and interesting travel destinations, but food is also a major enticement for tourists. Bright enjoys a “French toast kind of dish” made by one of his students that he says is “absolutely addicting.” While American-style French toast is served with syrup, this particular dish is served with a crème cheese spread along with jam or sausage.
Moving to Russia has had, “without a doubt…a tremendously positive impact on me,” Bright said. “I have become more ambitious than ever, and have realized that all the goals I want to accomplish are more than achievable.”
His advice to students who are aspiring to travel the world is “Travel because you are curious and don’t expect anything, yet be open enough to handle anything.”
The Department of Modern Languages and Literature offers courses in foreign languages, culture and literature as well as opportunities for students to study abroad.
Stop by the department offices in the McKinney Humanities building, room 4.01.01 for more information.