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BA Slavic Languages
I studied Russian because the Soviet Union was the great "other" World Power during that time, and I thought it was important to know and understand them. Of course the country's military importance has nearly collapsed since then, but I still think Russia and many of former states of the Soviet empire (where the language is still widely spoken) will continue to be economically significant.
I was a USIA guide on the American "cultural exchange exhibit" in the Soviet Union in 1987, an experience which drastically improved my spoken Russian (it was the first time I'd ever been there). Thereafter I went into private industry and worked in Thailand and Germany for many years. I now work at General Atomics in San Diego, CA.
I am convinced that my Russian language background will continue to benefit my career: Russia is a strong scientific/engineering resource, and it has incredible mineral wealth. And although the Cold War is over, her politics towards Central Asia and the Middle East will strongly influence US relations there. Whether in business or government, it's better to understand who you're dealing with.
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