Read the text silently as you listen to the recording. The Russian words in context will help you match up the new Russian letters with their sounds.

Эрик Кац was born in Даллас in the штат of Техас, but after high школа, he became a студент in a small колледж in Нью-Йорк. His main интерес was Russian area studies, and he was fascinated by everything having to do with Россия: as a freshman, he signed up for курсы in русская литература, история, политология, география, философия, музыка, and культура. He read all the Russian классики: Пушкин, Достоевский, Толстой, and Чехов.

Эрик also took courses in русский язык. To practice his русский язык, Эрик visited all sorts of русские вебсайты on the Интернет. There he read русские журналы and газеты, listened to русское радио and watched русское телевидение. He also rented lots of русские видеофильмы.

Эрик was especially interested in русская история, from the time of the all-powerful цари, like Пётр I through the период of коммунизм under Soviet rulers such as Ленин, Сталин, Хрущёв, and Брежнев to those under whom Россия moved towards the West: Горбачёв, Ельцин, and Путин.

In his senior year, Эрик traveled to Россия and spent the семестр in Москва, Санкт-Петербург, Волгоград, and Воронеж. After the spring семестр ended in май, Эрик left Россия and spent all summer - all июнь, июль, and август traveling around Центральная Азия. In countries as remote as Казахстан, Узбекистан, Таджикистан, and even far-off Кыргызстан, Эрик found that he could communicate with just about everyone using his русский язык.

Before leaving Россия, Эрик invited his new friend Анна to visit him in Америка. Эрик wanted Анна to see Даллас, where his мама, папа, and сестра lived. And of course, Анна wanted to travel all around the США: from Бостон to Вашингтон, from Чикаго to Атланта and Майами, and then on to Хьюстон, Лос-Анджелес, Сан-Франциско, and Сиэтл.

After returning to Америка, and after Анна came to visit, Эрик finished his studies and considered a future карьера, perhaps as a журналист or a профессор or as a бизнес-консультант for firms dealing with Россия and Центральная Азия. With his solid knowledge of русский язык and русская культура, Эрик knew that he would find many opportunities.