“Russia? It’s cold there” and Other Packing Tips

Every time I told someone I was going to be studying abroad in Russia the response was always “Oh wow really? It’s cold there.” So, when I was packing for Russia all I knew was that it would be cold especially because I was going to Russia in the middle of winter. In doing research …

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Starting to Speak

The first two thirds of my time here in Moscow, I was hindered by fear and regularly hid behind my new Russian friends when it came to speaking to other Russians. Speaking in Russian publicly with other Russians was a major source of anxiety that I acknowledged, but convinced myself was not as big of …

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Kazakh Wedding Traditions

Weddings are one of Kazakhstan’s many customs. Traditionally, there were several stages of the wedding ceremony, but today most couples do not go through all of them. Depending on where the members of the couple are from, they may be encouraged by relatives to follow the tradition as it has been done all along. People …

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Piano Lessons in Azerbaijan

Every Tuesday and Thursday, I attend a one-hour piano lesson at a music school in Azerbaijan. Although some students favor picking up an entirely new activity during their time abroad, I preferred to bring with me an activity that was already quite familiar. In the midst of cultural, language, and even time differences, playing piano …

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How to Ride the Russian Overnight Train

If you are a student of Russian reading this blog post, either having already applied to AC Study Abroad or still considering (do it!), then you will likely find yourself on a very long train ride in Russia. Do not be deceived—Russia is an enormous country. Its classification as the biggest on earth does not …

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Guest at the Dining Table

It’s been a month since I’ve arrived in Almaty. This is my first time in Kazakhstan, and it’s been lovely so far. The city is beautiful, the people are generally kind and their open and welcoming nature is reflected in their traditions. One tradition that I’ve encountered more than once occurs at the dining table. …

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