There’s a Washing Machine in My Kitchen —Cultural Observations and Shocks

While walking through the streets of my new home, Almaty, Kazakhstan, I can almost hear Green Day’s “American Idiot” pulsing through my brain. “Don’t wanna’ be an American Idiot,” is the goal, but the execution sometimes falls short. Often, these apparent blunders are not informed by the Russian language, as I expected before departure; rather, …

Continue reading There’s a Washing Machine in My Kitchen —Cultural Observations and Shocks

My First Time Abroad

   When asked about how my trip is going, I am usually at a loss for words at first. This trip holds the distinction of not only being my first time inside Russia, but also the first time I have ever left the United States. I did not even have a passport until I decided …

Continue reading My First Time Abroad

Dealing with “Culture Shock”

Everyone warns you in orientation that you may experience something known as “culture shock” while studying abroad. Personally, I think that culture shock is quite the misnomer. I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced “shock” in the typical sense of the word, and therefore I began to think that culture shock didn’t exist. It implies …

Continue reading Dealing with “Culture Shock”

Experiencing Moscow for the First Time

When I first applied for the Overseas Professional and Intercultural Training Internship Program through American Councils, I was looking for an adventure. I had never been overseas before and I wanted to immerse myself in a new culture. I chose Moscow, Russia despite not knowing a single word of the Russian language, so I knew …

Continue reading Experiencing Moscow for the First Time

Could We Be Doing More to Minimize Our Use of Plastic?

Protecting Our Planet: From a Cultural Perspective It was the weekend before my departure to Belgrade, Serbia that I watched the documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean,' and couldn't believe how rapid our environment is degrading and how much effort was lacking towards its protection. The proliferation of plastic products is developing a "disposable" lifestyle and an …

Continue reading Could We Be Doing More to Minimize Our Use of Plastic?

A Week with a Russian Babushka

Of course they warned us. Before departing from Washington, D.C. we were told all about the frank and honest nature of the Russian people, the worlds of difference between our modes of self-expression, forms of etiquette, and so on. The honesty received from our Resident Directors and other American Councils staff during orientation was much …

Continue reading A Week with a Russian Babushka

No, Not the Telephone

Not every memorable moment abroad is related to an eye-opening experience or an event that changes your understanding of yourself or the world around you. Those moments happen, of course, more frequently when you’ve just arrived in a new country and more sporadically as time passes by and you become more acquainted with the new …

Continue reading No, Not the Telephone