February in Dushanbe

My flight into Tajikistan came into the country in the early hours of the morning.It was dark and cold and the flight over showed no glimpses of what the country would be like. The airport was a generic airport, nothing remarkable, neither good nor bad. We were dropped off at our host families’ homes. I … Continue reading February in Dushanbe


Appreciating Your Time Abroad

Unfortunately, my time abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia is coming to an end. It is crazy to think that I have less than three weeks left with a city I’ve fallen in love with. Though I am excited to return home and share my experience with friends and family, I will surely miss St. Petersburg, … Continue reading Appreciating Your Time Abroad

Seeing the Warmer Side of Russia

Like many students who decide to study Russian, I fell in love with the country’s literature before I began studying the language. The prospect of developing the skills to read that literature in its original format can be a great motivator. However, the pantheon of great Russian writers can also have a chilling effect for … Continue reading Seeing the Warmer Side of Russia

Shuba Hunting

In Russian, the word “шуба” [shoo-ba], plural: шуби [shoo-bee] has two meanings. 1. A fur coat 2. A salad that consists of alternating layers of mayonnaise, beats, and salted herring fish. The full name of the salad is translated as “Herring under a fur coat.” To most Americans, both are foreign and puzzling. Here we’re … Continue reading Shuba Hunting

The Curious Case of the Moscow Commuter

Coming from a small town in New Jersey and attending college at a relatively small campus, I am not a person who spends a long time getting from one place to another. On average, it takes me about ten minutes to get from my dorm room to any of my classes and the general amount … Continue reading The Curious Case of the Moscow Commuter

I Get By With A Little Help From My Host Mom

I have been blessed over these past few months with a wonderful host family experience. My host mom, Natasha, is not only great at keeping me fed and safe, but she has shown me kindness and friendship in ways that I would have never expected from her. Before I left for Russia, my professor in … Continue reading I Get By With A Little Help From My Host Mom

On my love for the Moscow Metro

It probably sounds silly, how much I love the metro. Maybe it's due to the small town girl effect- I come from a town of 10,000 that used to have a taxi, but other than that, has no public transport whatsoever. I think it's more than that, though. I remember clearly sitting at orientation, being … Continue reading On my love for the Moscow Metro

The New Moscow

When I decided to come to Moscow, I was most of all excited to see old stuff—Soviet relics, dead writers’ apartments, art from bygone dissident movements. I listened to music from the 1930s to prepare myself and made lists of museums to visit. I wanted to live in a Moscow that had stopped existing sometime … Continue reading The New Moscow

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

7 Lessons in 7 Days: My First Week in Russia

DAY 1: Finally, I’m in St. Petersburg -- the moment I’ve been waiting for! After how many years, I am finally here. However, it’s hard to know what to think after being in a plane for 15 hours. It’s hard to know how to take in all the Cyrillic alphabet that surrounds me as I … Continue reading 7 Lessons in 7 Days: My First Week in Russia