In August 2013, I told my friends and family I was going to Russia to cover the 2014 Winter Olympics. Their initial reactions were not exactly positive. I believe there were definite flash backs to the Cold War for my grandma.
She started talking about dodging under desks and practicing covering her eyes from the flash. I laughed at the comment, but now I’m beginning to realize media and movies about Russian culture may be influencing me, and I just now started noticing.
As we are about to embark on our journey to Russia, we’ve had crash courses on packing, history, security and culture. And I am embarrassed to say I did not know the truth about Russia. People act like it is a different world, and as soon as I step off of the plane, I’ll be the leading actress in a Liam Neeson movie being abducted.
There have been recent terrorist threats and bombings in Russia and around Sochi, and my parents alert me everyday when it happens, hoping I’ll change my mind and save some money. But I’m all in and ready to go see what Russia is truly about.
I know I’m supposed to be focusing on the Olympics and the athletes, but what is the point of traveling halfway across the world if I don’t try to experience other cultures? I can’t let fear of old stereotypes hold me back. I’m stamping out all stereotypes, American and Russian, and figuring out the rest as I walk around absorbing it all.
BSU at the Games is a freelance news agency operated by 22 student journalists reporting from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games through an immersive-learning program at Ball State University.