From Russia with Love

Alex Castillo, Copy Editor

As a young immigrant, Egor Goncear, 11, had trouble adjusting to life in America after moving from Russia to the United States in 2011 due to his mother’s remarriage.


Goncear believes the hardest thing about moving to America was learning the language. Due to the Russian schooling system being different from America, Goncear was placed in seventh grade. Goncear is actually going to be 18 years old in his junior year.


“I was taking three English classes,” Goncear said, “and I struggled a lot with writing because the Russian and English alphabets are totally different.”


When Goncear found himself in the United States after a long flight from Moscow, he knew that the American culture would be different from what he was used to. Luckily, Goncear met Angel Martinez, 11, in the seventh grade. Martinez would become his closest friend and guide him through his first few years in a foreign country.


“It was actually pretty hard to get super close to Egor,” Martinez said. “The language barrier was huge, but I was really determined to help him out and get him used to life in America. I think that being around English all the time helped him learn it quickly, but sometimes, even now, when me or my friends bring up pop culture references he won’t get them. Like for example he won’t know celebrities from like the 1900s that most Americans know, and we have to explain things to him.”


Junior, Daniel Martinez, met Goncear in 8th grade. By then Goncear had learned a substantial amount of English and was able to make conversation. Martinez and Goncear met and conversed extensively for the first time when the two visited Angel Martinez’s home.


“I remember that Egor thought I was super weird. I like to be really loud and I left a really strong first impression,” Martinez said. “When I left Angel’s house that day, I remember that Egor had asked Angel why I was constantly screaming so much and making jokes that he didn’t understand due to not fully knowing American culture yet.”


Goncear has tried his best to preserve some of his Russian traditions even when he’s thousands of miles from home. He keeps a card with an image of Saint Matrona of Moscow, a Russian Orthodox religious icon. He continues to eat his favorite Russian foods, specifically borscht, a thick soup made of vegetables, meat and sour cream. However, Goncear has adapted to American life. He watches his favorite football team, the Denver Broncos, every Sunday. Although Goncear sometimes misses his home country, he enjoys his time in America.