Finding a New Hobby

It has been approximately 8 weeks since I’ve arrived to Vladimir and it has been an extremely interesting experience.  I have learned in these two short months: what it means to actually have free time, how to listen to people, and the many similarities between Russians and Americans.  Although these examples may seem basic, I … Continue reading Finding a New Hobby


History Coming to Life

I make it a point to regularly sit down with my host mother and chat. Classes, for as valuable as they are, are nothing compared to spontaneous interactions and real conversations. It’s been during these conversations that I realized I was talking to a woman who witnessed and was an active participant in the history … Continue reading History Coming to Life

Texas in Kazakhstan

I’m very clearly not a Kazakh. Whenever I meet new people, one of the first questions is almost always “otkuda,” or “where from?” I’ve found that the easiest way to make new friends is to respond with some variation of “Shymkent… I mean, Texas.” Although I no longer find it amusing, but the locals very … Continue reading Texas in Kazakhstan

Alternative Spring Break: Buzkashi Edition

We spring semester language students are officially halfway through our respective Farsi, Tajik, Dari, and Uzbek language programs of study, which means – Spring Break! To kick off our week-long Spring Break/Navruz celebrations here in Dushanbe, we all celebrated by attending a good ol’ fashioned game of dead goat polo, aka, buzkashi. Buzkashi is the … Continue reading Alternative Spring Break: Buzkashi Edition

In Sickness and in Health

While I did not travel anywhere distant this spring break, which in Azerbaijan took place during the Novruz holiday, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand some fundamental Azerbaijani customs. First, the terrible cold which has been taking down Baku’s citizenry all winter, finally hit me the last week of classes. My host mom came … Continue reading In Sickness and in Health

A Trip to Safed Dara and How to Decompress on Study Abroad

On December 29, 2017 Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon signed a decree declaring 2018 the Year of Tourism and Folk Crafts in Tajikistan. Although Tajikistan is an incredibly budget-friendly tourist destination, full of beautiful mountain landscapes, ancient historical cities, and a unique blend of Persian and post-Soviet cultures, it remains relatively undiscovered by American visitors. For this … Continue reading A Trip to Safed Dara and How to Decompress on Study Abroad

A Different Kind Of Cold

"Its winter, of course it will be cold", this is what I told myself before returning for the spring semester in Vladimir, Russia. I've been many places at various times of year from the northern United States and Canada, throughout the valleys in the Midwest and the mountain regions. I've been through the highlands of … Continue reading A Different Kind Of Cold

8 Russian Dairy Products You’re Going to Want to Make Friends With

Come to land where milk products are more plentiful than the snow and just as beautiful! Ryazkenka, or fermented baked milk, is not only very good for you but is also the cheapest thing on the McDonald's menu here. It is made by baking a jug of milk for 8 hours until it becomes thick, … Continue reading 8 Russian Dairy Products You’re Going to Want to Make Friends With