Excursion to Khujand, Tajikistan

One of the perks of the Eurasian Regional Language Program are the frequent excursions that take place during the weekends. I recently had my last and longest excursion of this summer. Together with the other ERLP students in Dushanbe, we went on a three-day trip to Khujand, Tajikistan’s northern capital and second-largest city. Although I …

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“Why did you decide to come to Russia?”

“Why did you decide to come to Russia?” The immediate answer I usually give is “because I’ve always been interested.” Since I was in the fifth grade, Russia, its culture, geography, language, etc., has fascinated me. I don’t have any logical or practical reason other than I thought it was cool. While it's true, I …

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Gardens of Dushanbe

The closeness to nature that is experienced throughout Tajikistan is also reflected in the multitude of gardens that the capital, Dushanbe, contains. Many of them originate from the Soviet era, but the Tajik government has also clearly placed a lot of effort in constructing new ones, especially those surrounding the Nowruz Palace. Overall, the city’s …

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Visiting a Jailau in Kazakhstan

Though Kazakhs pride themselves on their nomadic legacy, very few Kazakhs still engage in nomadic pastoralism. Due to the forced sedentarization started under Imperial Russian control and intensified under the Soviet Union in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Kazakhs today almost entirely live in apartments and houses. The yurt, and the way of life …

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Expectations and Realities

I was always “too” nervous to live with a host family. I’ve lived abroad many times before, and the opportunity certainly arose on more than one occasion. However, it always felt a bit scary. Stepping into someone else’s home, with their own customs, traditions, and daily life felt so intimidating. As a vegetarian, I also …

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Sights and Sounds of Sarajevo: A Portrait of New Beginnings

It’s hard to believe that three weeks have already passed by seemingly without me even realizing. It’s strange how time passes unceremoniously when you are faced with a change in nearly all your circumstances. A new country, new living arrangements, new teachers, new classes, new friends, new sights, new sounds—new language…it’s hardly a shock the …

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The Added Benefit of Learning a Foreign Language

There are a lot of things you expect from studying a foreign language and going overseas to be immersed in said language, like funny stories from misunderstandings and an increase in the command over that language. Those things I expected, but there was one side effect of studying a second language I didn’t expect—an increase …

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Language and Music in Sarajevo

Heading into my final week of language classes in Sarajevo, I must admit I’m finding it difficult to home in on a focus for this blog post. I have experienced so many wonderful events, met so many inspiring people, listened to and watched so many invigorating musical performances, and traveled to so many new places. …

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Balancing My Life Abroad

Since the moment I arrived in Saint Petersburg, Russia, I have wanted to share so much of the culture and interesting things I learn about the country with my friends and family in the United States. Anytime something particularly remarkable, unexpected, or even just different happens, my reaction at first was to tell the people …

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