Daria Molchanova, a professor and historian who teaches Russian in the U.S., shared a heartwarming and heartfelt TikTok on her page @realrussianclub about her shock and delight over how Americans treated her — just for wearing a graduation cap and gown.
Much like the foreign exchange student who described her first-ever spray tan as “the most American thing ever,” Molchanova’s video highlights how different things are here in the U.S.
“I can’t put into words how amazing Americans are,” Molchanova gushed. She explained how after walking home from her graduation ceremony, everyone she passed offered a “Congratulations!” or an excited “Whoop.” And the gestures seemed to touch the new college graduate, as she almost seemed breathless and on the verge of tears.
“It’s just so priceless,” she added, putting her hand to her heart. “Before coming to the United States. I’ve always heard how Americans are so fake and all the smiles are fake. But I don’t know. It’s so real to me. It’s just unbelievable.”
In the comment section, Molchanova further explained that people even went so far as to hang out of car windows to wave and smile and honk at her. “Kids were yelling, ‘Congratulations!’” she wrote, adding a teary emoji to express how touched she was.
According to her website, Molchanova graduated from the Moscow State University of Art and Culture before earning her Ph.D. in Russian history and getting certified to teach Russian as a foreign language. In 2020, she began working on her Masters program in Russian studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder, which it appears she has now successfully completed.
Molchanova may have marveled at Americans’ reactions to her simply existing as a graduate, but she’s done a lot to earn those accolades.
The mother of two young children, she founded the online learning platform Real Russian Club in 2015, teaching thousands of students from 75 countries. The Ph.D. graduate also hosts the Slow Russian Podcast, which boasts over a million downloads.
The comment section on Molchanova’s TikTok soon became an interesting back-and-forth commentary on how other countries perceive Americans versus how Americans actually act.
And while America has its own subcultures and customs, many commenters agreed that celebrating others — even strangers — is very American.
“My cousins from other countries think I’m weird in America because I will talk to any stranger. It’s normal in America to talk to strangers,” @Nadia wrote.
“We’re not perfect but we love achievers and we love to show our love to others. Congratulations,” wrote @timeavey.
“This is one of our strong suits. Generally irl we celebrate others pretty well. Online it’s another story. Congratulations!” @dill replied.
“American from Wisconsin here I don’t know u and I am so proud of u! We seriously are,” added @lalamamap.
But no matter what others think about Molchanova’s accomplishments, one thing is certain — she has every right to feel proud and be celebrated in any way she can.
“You should absolutely feel proud yourself, though, that’s a huge accomplishment,” @Brett said.
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