Henna

Before arriving in Azerbaijan, henna was something that I solely associated with intricate brownish red patterns painted on hands at bas mitzvahs. It was only until I complimented my host sister’s glowing hair that she casually told me she dyed it with henna. I loved how natural and subtle it was, transforming an average brunette …

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Host Family and the Banya

Every day before and after class, I sit on the metro and think about living closer to center city. No matter how far anyone else may be from campus, I am sure I have the longest commute. Daily life as a student in St. Petersburg would be much easier if I lived in the dorms, …

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4 Ways to Improve Your Study Abroad Experience

After studying for a full academic year in Almaty, Kazakhstan, I’m ready to return home and share my experiences with family and friends. Studying abroad has forced me to ponder realities about myself and society. I feel more mature as a result. I’ll think about my experiences for many years to come. However, studying abroad …

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Leaving My Comfort Zone

Another month has flown by in Moscow, and suddenly I find myself over halfway through this program. I realized that fear holds me back more than anything else, but I’m still having trouble shaking it. On weekends, I feel uncomfortable going places by myself because I’m afraid that some sort of miscommunication with result in …

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Language Immersion Will Teach You About Life

“Я сам” (“I am myself”). That’s what I said to my barista this morning when, after months of serving my coffee, he asked me my name. Did I mean to say this? No. Did he laugh? Yes, along with everyone who heard it. To be sure, it is a very laughable answer to a commonplace …

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Dealing with Language Fatigue

When I first came to Saint Petersburg, I was absolutely overwhelmed. I came from a casual four hours of Russian a week, in which Russian wasn’t mandatory when speaking. I knew what I was about to begin would not be easy, and like all other language-lovers, the academic challenge was exciting for me. We all …

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Aikosh’s First Step

“Tusau Keser ” (in Kazakh), or “cutting the rope,” is the celebration of a child’s first steps, a nomadic tradition originating from tengriism. The ceremony is performed when the child first learns how to walk. Kazakhs believed that an invisible rope was tied around the child’s legs preventing the child from walking. A rope had …

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