Russian student has many stories to tell

by Brianna Anderson

Although freshman Olga Ryakhovskaya grew up in Spokane for most of her life, her hometown is Georgievsk, Russia. When she was just a baby her family moved to the United States to try and avoid the Chechneya war that was threatening their town. Her parents took a train from their home in Georgievsk all the way to Moscow; the trip took over 36 hours. They relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah and eventually moved to Spokane.

Ryakhovskaya still speaks Russian at home and has distant family members who live overseas. But she has not been back to Russia since her family left when she still a baby.

“I feel like I’ve always been raised with Americans,” Ryakhovskaya said, “Most of the time English is easier for me.”

After Ryakhovskaya graduated high school at Northwest Christian in Spokane, she started applying to colleges out of the state; George Fox Christian University, Trinity Christian College and many others. Ryakhovskaya wanted to get out of Spokane. But at her mother’s request, she applied to Whitworth.

“I really poured my heart and soul into the essays and when I did, I found out that I really wanted to go here,” Ryakhovskaya said.

After exploring the possibilities of several majors including business and being a dental hygienist, Ryakhovskaya became interested in cmmunications. One day she was staring at a list of teachers posted in the Communication Studies Department lounge area, wondering who she should talk to; when she ran into Professor Ron Pyle making copies next to her. He asked her if she needed any help and later took her in his office and started talking with her about communications.

“I’ve been convinced ever since,” Ryakhovskaya said.

After completing her first semester here at Whitworth, Ryakhovskaya still wasn’t sure whether or not she wanted to return. But has since then come to love the campus and her teachers. Currently her favorite class is “Interpersonal Communication” taught by Professor Ron Pyle. Ryakhovskaya also enjoys the writing side of communication.

“I have this silly little goal to write my own book someday. I have a thousand stories started already but I can never finish them.”

Ryakhovskaya is still interested in leaving Spokane someday.  She hopes to participate in YWAM in the near future.


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