Spektor went on to release the album Begin to Hope on June 13, 2006.The album debuted at number 70 on the Billboard 200, but due to the popularity of the single "Fidelity", it went on to peak at number 20, and was certified Gold by the RIAA.
The seriousness of her piano studies led her parents to consider not leaving the Soviet Union, but they finally decided to emigrate, due to the racial, ethnic, and political discrimination that Jews faced.
Traveling first to Austria and then Italy, the Spektor family was admitted to the United States as refugees with the assistance of HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society).
Although she had always made up songs around the house, she first became interested in more formal songwriting during a visit to Israel with the Nesiya Institute in her teenage years when she attracted attention from the other children on the trip for the songs she made up while hiking.
Spektor completed the four-year studio composition program of the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College within three years, graduating with honors in 2001.
Around this time, she also worked briefly at a butterfly farm in Luck, Wisconsin, Spektor gradually achieved recognition through performances in the anti-folk scene in downtown New York City, most prominently at the East Village's Side Walk Cafe.