Photo Blog: Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade hosts a strange mix of Ottoman monuments, Orthodox churches, and communist architecture, commemorating its thousand-year empire under three different empires, five wars, and all the political turbulence of the twentieth century. The city’s history is ingratiated in daily life, unfolding during walks to work, to class, to coffee dates with friends, or even just …

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Visiting an Aul in Western Kazakhstan

After months of living in the modern metropolis of Almaty, my fellow Americans and I decided to embark on one last adventure before the end of our semester together in Kazakhstan. Lucky enough, we had befriended a local student at our university who invited us to visit his аул (aul/the Kazakh word for village) in …

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A Little Sun-Kissed

I guess you can say that this is a continuation of my first blog, “Being Black in Russia” where I felt like like I was constantly being identified as the "outsider" and I learned  owning my blackness is the key to taking advantage of my opportunities here. There’s not going to be a clear connection between …

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Weekend Excursion in Kazakhstan

My time in Kazakhstan is going way too fast. I have already been here for about two months, but it doesn’t really feel like it. The good days have definitely outweighed the bad days, and I am so grateful for having an outstanding host family and amazing friends. A memorable experience. Three weeks ago, we …

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On the Value of Language Cafes

On Saturday, I told my host mom that her cooking “stank” instead of saying it “smelled good.” This morning, when my new professor asked me when I’ll graduate college, I heard, “when did you wake up this morning” and told him “around 8.” In both cases, the sentences were phonetically close in Serbian and I …

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Душевное спокойствие – Peace of Mind

Towards the end of September, just as the weather started to cool down, we had our first Regional Field Study. We ventured out of Almaty after our history lectures on Friday, led by our fearless resident director, insightful tour guides, and our somewhat maniacal bus driver – I will never get used to the apparently …

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Exploring Kazakhstan Steppe by Steppe

It has been around five weeks since my last blog and I have felt so much progress in my language and regional studies since then that even my peers have noticed. As I write this, I am currently on my second regional field study. My first one was in Sakpek, a village in southeast Kazakhstan …

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Learning More Than A Language Through Food

Host family life provides innumerable benefits to a student trying to orient themselves in a new place and navigate interactions in a different system of social norms. However, the benefits of host family life extend beyond just helping you to settle in; in fact, four months in to host family life, I'm constantly amazed at …

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