First Impressions

Going to Russia was always a part of my four-year plan for college. I knew that majoring in Russian meant that I would go to Russia for a semester. This information was both a source of incredible excitement, but also a lot of anxiety. I love to travel and exploring different cultures and languages but …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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