Confronting Expectations

While I have only been in Russia for two weeks, I already feel like I have been living here for months. My Russian has already improved, but, more importantly, my understanding of modern Russian culture has drastically changed. My experience with my host family has given me the opportunity to directly and indirectly ask questions …

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Living in a Dorm in Russia

Living in a dormitory with Russian students is a fascinating experience. As with many other situations in Russia you are surrounded by busy and enterprising people with stern, serious expressions on their faces. With all the people hurriedly bustling about to and from class or off to a night out, it is easy in such …

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Experiences and Expectations

Currently, I am studying Russian language abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Russia has always been an interesting country to me, and because of that I wanted to learn the language.  When I arrived in Russia I was ready to get used to new cultural experiences and expectations, and even excited to learn the differences between …

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My Time so Far in Taiwan!

This will mark my third week in Taiwan at TISLP and I feel like time has flown past. This is my second time to Taiwan, the first trip was last year when I volunteered to teach English at a bilingual camp in smaller, more rural districts. I grew up in the States in a Cantonese-speaking …

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A Kazakh Engagement Party

Before coming to Kazakhstan, I read a little bit about Kazakh culture. I had learned about how Kazakhs often drink tea from bowls or “pialas”, that they eat horse meat, and of course, that they are very hospitable. Little did I know that I would be bombarded with all of these things almost immediately after …

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Fashion

One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in Russia was the fashion. Women were walking around in matching coordinated suits, stylish purses, statement earrings, and heels in every color. Even when women wear tennis shoes, they don’t look like they’re being worn for practicality—just another deliberate piece in a carefully planned ensemble. …

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Planes, Helicopters, and Space in Monino

My first personal excursion outside of Moscow was to the town of Monino, where the “Central Air Force Museum of the Russian Federation” is located. This museum is one of the largest air force museums in the world, boasting a staggering 172 Soviet and Russian aircrafts. As I am a student pilot in the US, …

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It’s All Quite Dream-like Here

A friend from the United States messaged me asking how my trip in Almaty, Kazakhstan was going, and, in my response, I called this trip “peak existence.” What does “peak existence” mean? I guess I’d describe it as a state of being where every interaction and experience feels meaningful and fulfilling. My emotions and feeling …

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