I arrived in Sarajevo on June 12th of 2015. Within an hour of landing I found myself in an apartment building in Alipašno Polje, about 20 minutes by tram outside of the city, with a family that did not speak a word of English. While I have worked hard to teach myself Bosnian (or “BCS” … Continue reading Welcome to Sarajevo
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
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
About two years ago I arrived to Russia for my first time. With almost two years of studying Russian under my belt, I was ready to be fluent. That is, or so I thought. Russian hadn’t come particularly easy to me, but I could sense the significant progress I had made since beginning studying the … Continue reading Cross-Cultural Communication
Tajikistan? Where’s that? What are you doing there? Why do you want to go there? Is it dangerous? Be careful! In the weeks leading up to the beginning of the Eurasian Regional Language Program (ERLP), I was frequently asked these questions by just about anyone I mentioned it to. Admittedly, even though I had traveled … Continue reading Tajikistan? Where’s That?
I was warned that Russia would be cold but I guess I didn’t quite understand what it means to be cold. When I was home in California before I left for Russia I bought a coat, a pair of gloves, and my mom showered me in sweaters and hats concerned about her little California girl … Continue reading A Californian Braving the Russian Winter
The first time I went to Russia was in the spring of 2006. I lived in Saint Petersburg, with a host family for a week on the outskirts of the city in a Soviet-era apartment building. During the day, I would go to school in a different part of the city, but always the same … Continue reading Living Abroad: Changing the Way you See the World
Some aspects of culture shock are hard to pin down and define. The prevalence of smoking is not one of them. It is one of the things that surprised me most about Moscow. I’m much more used to it now, but at first it was jarring to encounter it on a daily basis. It’s one … Continue reading Culture Shock – Smoking