Immigrant author to talk about adapting to US

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Imagine immigrating to a new country, living in a strange place, not knowing anything about that country and trying to adapt to the cultural differences. That is exactly what Elena Gorokhova had to do when she moved to the United States from Soviet Russia.

Gorokhova has now written two memoirs about her experiences as an immigrant and will have a reading from her second memoir “Russian Tattoo” and a Q & A on Feb. 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Fahy 236.

“My second memoir is called ‘Russian Tattoo’ and it is about my life in the U.S., after I moved here from Soviet Russia- a story of a stranger in a strange land,” said Gorokhova.

“It is also a story of mothers and daughters with very different cultural values, of three generations of strong women living under the same roof,” Gorokhova added.

The event is co-sponsored by the Russian and East European Studies program and the Slavic club. It is free and open to the public.

“I believe our students, many of whom have immigrant backgrounds, will relate to her story of immigration and cultural adaptation in a new land,” said Dr. Maxim Matusevich, director of the Russian and East European Studies program.

Gorokhova said that immigrating to the United States taught her important life lessons.

“I learned that leaving your country and moving to another country is frightening and humiliating,” said Gorokhova. “You get adapted to a new culture, eventually, but the wound of the soul split by emigration never really heals and the scar of exile remains for the rest of your life.”

Students of the Slavic club are looking forward to the reading and finding out more information about the life of the immigrant, even though some of them have not read the book.

“I am interested in Russian history as well as the Soviet experience that goes with it,” said Thomas Cullen, treasurer of the Slavic club. “I studied abroad in Moscow last semester and that has really sparked my interest in the personal experiences of the Russian people as well as the Russian psyche.”

“I have always been very interested in immigrant experiences and studying how people can adapt to a completely new culture,” said Sarah Kuehn, the vice president of the Slavic club. “I feel that this presentation would be able to open another facet for me.”

Gorokhova is also excited about the reading because she loves seeing the audience’s reactions and what resonates with them. Her favorite question to receive at a Q & A is “What do you miss most about Russia?”

Rebecca White can be reached at

Author: Rebecca White

Rebecca White is from Orange County, California and is a senior majoring in Communication. She started out as the Pirate Life Copy Editor her sophomore year, worked her way up to Assistant Pirate Life Editor her junior year, and enters her senior year as Pirate Life Editor. She has been on the Dean’s List every semester and will graduate a semester early in December 2016. During her time at Seton Hall she has interned for CNBC and, an entertainment site where she coordinates the celebrity interviews. She aspires to be a novelist while working in the publishing industry, either as a book editor or magazine editor.

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