Architecture in Moscow

I have always been a fan of architecture, and so from the start I was fascinated by the different styles in Moscow. Namely, I love seeing the older style buildings that are so unlike anything I have ever seen in the United States. Even taking a taxi through the city is an incredible experience as …

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What can I say about my first overseas experience?

Before coming to Tajikistan, I was over-the-moon excited about seeing a country whose people spoke a dialect of Persian and cherished the same premodern literary tradition as my father's people, the Iranians. The high status of poetry in Persianate (Google it) culture is well-known and widely attested to, so I couldn't wait to enter a …

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“Aunt Valya will have my head if I don’t take care of you!” – Gender roles in Ukraine

This morning, my host mom, Valentyna, told me that as she and her husband would both be arriving late tonight, my seventeen-year-old host brother, Ruslan, would be taking care of me today, including getting dinner ready for me. I had initially thought that he would be heating up leftover borshch in the microwave or something …

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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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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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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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Fulbright-Hays Scholarship Recipient Profile: Justin Hiemstra

Justin Hiemstra reflects on his summer on the Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program in Moscow as a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad scholarship recipient and what cultural differences he observed. Russia is truly a unique place. Whereas its neighboring countries almost all fall solidly into the group of what one might call ‘the European, Western nations,’ …

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