PCHS Grad Katie Ford – From Russia With Love, Part Two

Green Bank, WV – Katie Ford, a 2007 graduate of Pocahontas County HS is a senior at Ohio University. She’s also been immersed in the universities Russian studies program. As part of that curriculum she got to spend 10 weeks in Moscow earlier this year. She says she tried not to prejudge Russia before she left for her trip.

“I didn’t really know what to expect honestly” she says. “Another thing that drove me to Russia was it mysteriousness. We have biases about the Russians and about Russia in general – like they always drink Vodka, they’re always unhappy, it’s always cold there. All these stereotypes that we have and they have the same stereotypes about us.”

“So I just knew that what I knew about Russia probably wasn’t 100% correct, so I just wanted to see it for what it really was.”

One of those stereotypes is that Russians never smile or laugh. Ford says that’s not entirely true.

“It’s interesting because they do smile and they do laugh, but it’s very truthful, it’s very sincere” she says. “Because if you’re just walking down the street, you just have this neutral face; it’s not a frown, but it’s not a smile. And I thought that’s something really strange compared to America where we’re always smiling, saying How are you’ even though you have no idea who the person is.”

Ford says sometimes she liked the anonymity of the streets. But her time there wasn’t all study and no play- she says she and fellow students got to take a number of side trips.

“Every Wednesday we got to go on an excursion and it was included in the program, which was something really special about the Russian program” says Ford. “Our first trip was to the Kremlin, which is the place where the [Russian] government is and there’s a bunch of churches, there’s a concert hall. There’s the Armory where the famous Faberge eggs are, and my favorite part besides the eggs were carriages from all the Czars that were there.”

She says they also visited parks, museums, and a couple of Monasteries. While she was there, she also kept a blog of her activities.

“It wasn’t part of my project” she says “I really didn’t know how communication was going to be while I was over there. So I wanted to make sure I could keep in touch with with my family because they were kind of freaked out that I was going over there. I wanted to make sure that they knew I was okay. I wanted to keep it for me as well, because as I was writing it and experiencing it, now I can look back and see what I did.”

Ford has completed her minor in Russian, but may not have gotten Russia out of her system just yet.

“I’m hoping to do international accounting and perhaps even go over there” she says. “There are several huge international firms that I’m looking at. Before that it was more of a wild dream to do international accounting, but now that I’ve been there I really want to fulfill that dream and go do it.”

While that may not be what her parents want to hear, they are nonetheless proud of their daughter and her accomplishments.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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