I heard an expression here once that roughly translates to, “Minutes pass, hours run, and the days fly by.” I understand what this means more than ever, now that it’s already December and study abroad is drawing to a close. I honestly don’t really know how to feel right now – where did the time go? On one hand, I know it’ll be wonderful to see my family and friends and be back in the States first for the holidays, and then for a new semester at my home university. On the other hand, this means leaving behind the people and places I’ve come to know here in St. Petersburg, Russia – not only my host family, but new friends, professors, the university I’ve been studying at, and all of the other things I’ve gotten to see and that I’ll never forget.
I already know that I’ll feel nostalgic for the long conversations, for example, that I’ve gotten to have every day in Russian with my host parents, both mundane (“How was your day?”) or about more complicated subjects – news, hobbies, and work, among other topics. It’s been great getting to know them! I also know that I’ll remember all of the sights around the city – Kazansky Sobor, the bright onion-shaped domes of Spas na Krovy, the colorful pastel buildings along Nevksy Prospekt, the quaint cafes, and the lovely holiday lights that have recently started to appear – that I’ve gotten to see every day on my way to and from class. I’ll think back to what I’ve learned here in my figure skating lessons when I return to my ice rink at home, and when I go to a hockey game (go Caps!), I know that I’ll remember going to see SKA (St. Petersburg’s team) play. And, of course, I’ll remember all of the new things I learned in class, which have undoubtedly improved my Russian!
It really feels like just yesterday that I got here (seriously, where did the time go?), but I can say truthfully that it’s been really cool to live and study for four months in another country. The experiences that I’ve had here have not only allowed me to develop my language skills to a point that I never thought possible (especially when I first started learning Russian!), but have allowed me to experience things that I never imagined and, most of all, have helped me develop more as a person. I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to study abroad in St. Petersburg, and I’ll sign off with one piece of advice for anyone thinking about studying here in the future: enjoy your time in the city, because the days fly by faster than you might think!
By: Emily Herring
Term: Fall 2017